(January 29, 2014) U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced that up Madison Keys, Alison Riske, Christina McHale and Cleveland native Lauren Davis will represent the United States in the 2014 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas First Round tie against reigning Fed Cup champion Italy. The best-of-five match series will be played at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Feb. 8-9. Keys, Riske, and Davis will be making their Fed Cup debuts.
The winner advances to face either Spain or the Czech Republic in the semifinals, April 19-20.
Italian Captain Corrado Barazzutti announced earlier this week that Italy’s Fed Cup team will consist of world No. 45 Karin Knapp, No. 84 Camila Giorgi, Nastassja Burnett, and Alice Matteucci.
“We have a fresh group of young talent competing in this Fed Cup tie against Italy,” said Fernandez, who resides in Cleveland. “They’ve already won big matches on Grand Slam stages and are a reason why the future of American women’s tennis is so bright. Both Alison and Lauren had strong showings at the Australian Open earlier this month, Madison is the youngest player in the Top 40, and Christina has had valuable Fed Cup experience as well as solid showings in tournaments around the world. I have complete confidence in this team to step up and play great tennis in front of a patriotic crowd in Cleveland.”
Top Americans Serena Williams (back) and Sloane Stephens (wrist) will not compete due to injury.
The first-round showdown begins Saturday, Feb. 8, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off and the No. 2 players meet, followed by a doubles match. Play on Saturday begins at 1:00 p.m. ET and play on Sunday begins at 12:00 p.m. ET. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.
Single-day tickets for $25 per day remain available at www.usta.com/fedcup or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782). Collection Auto Group of North Olmstead, Ohio, will serve as a Fed Cup Tie Sponsor. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.
Ohio will be hosting Fed Cup for the first time. This match will mark the fourth meeting between the U.S. and Italy in the last six years. While Italy has won the last three matchups, the U.S. leads the overall series, 9-3. The U.S. defeated Italy in its first-ever Fed Cup tie, in 1963, and last defeated the country in 2003. The U.S. is 37-4 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.
World No. 37 Madison Keys, 18, is making her Fed Cup debut. Keys broke into the Top 40 in the world in 2013 after reaching the third round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In 2011, she became the youngest player to win a main draw match at the US Open since Nicole Vaidisova in 2005. And in 2009, she became the youngest player (14 years, 48 days) since Martina Hingis in 1994 to win a WTA match. Entering the 2014 season, Keys qualified for and reached the semifinals of the Australian Open tune-up event in Sydney, and she then advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. She trains with the USTA Player Development program at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
Alison Riske, 23, is also making her Fed Cup debut. She is ranked a career-high No. 47 in the world after reaching the third round of the 2014 Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the WTA event in Hobart, Australia, at the beginning of the year. Riske gained national attention after advancing to the fourth round of the 2013 US Open, where she defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round. Also in 2013, she reached the semifinals of the WTA grass-court event in Birmingham, England, and advanced to the third round at Wimbledon.
World No. 59 Christina McHale, 21, made her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team in the 2010 quarterfinals and has a 4-3 record in Fed Cup play (all singles), winning her last four matches (all in 2012). McHale was the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic tennis team and reached the third round of three Grand Slam events that year. In 2011, she established herself as the second-highest-ranked American behind Serena Williams and became the youngest player in the WTA Top 50 after defeating then-world No. 9 Marion Bartoli en route to the third round of the US Open. She also won the bronze medal in singles and the silver in doubles at the 2011 Pan Am Games. As a junior player, she swept the singles and doubles titles at the 2009 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn wild cards into the US Open. Like Keys, McHale trains with the USTA Player Development program in Boca Raton.
World No. 60 Lauren Davis, 20, a Cleveland native, will also be making her Fed Cup debut. She reached the third round of the 2014 Australian Open for her career-best Grand Slam result. Davis competed in all four Grand Slam events in 2013 and started the year by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open tune-up event in Hobart, losing to Stephens. After the Australian Open, Davis returned to the States and won the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Midland, Mich. Davis broke into the Top 100 for the first time in her career in 2012, qualifying for and reaching the second round of the French Open and advancing to the quarterfinals in Quebec City, Canada. Davis also ended the 2012 season strong on the USTA Pro Circuit, winning the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Las Vegas, sponsored by music mogul Redfoo of LMFAO. Davis peaked at No. 3 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in 2010, when she won the Orange Bowl and reached the final of the Easter Bowl. She trains at the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton.
Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition (96 countries have entered for 2014). The U.S. and Italy are among the eight nations eligible to win the 2014 title as part of the elite Fed Cup World Group. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000, and holds an overall 143-33 record. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup Team