American Christina McHale has pulled out of the New Haven Open at Yale due to illness. Sofia Arvidsson will take her spot in the draw.
From the United States Tennis Association: The USTA announced on Tuesday the 12 players nominated to the U.S. Olympic Tennis Teams for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, July 28 â€“ August 5.
U.S. womenâ€™s tennis coach Mary Joe Fernandez nominated a six-person team with four singles entries and two doubles teams.Â 13-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will compete in the singles competition along with Christina McHale, Varvara Lepchenko and three-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams, who will be competing in her fourth Olympics. The worldâ€™s No. 1 doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will compete for the U.S. in doubles, as will the Williams sisters, who are undefeated in Olympic doubles competition and will be seeking their third gold medal together (2000, 2008).
U.S. menâ€™s tennis coach Jay Berger also nominated a six-player team consisting of four singles entries and two doubles teams.Â 2004 Olympian Andy Roddick was named to the team along with John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young in singles.Â The 2008 bronze medalists in menâ€™s doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, will return to the Olympics as a U.S. menâ€™s doubles team, with Isner and Roddick making up a second doubles team.
The U.S. will also nominate two teams in mixed doubles â€“ which will be contested at the Olympics Games for the first time since tennis returned to the Games in 1988 â€“ comprised from among the 12 players and named once all players are on site.
The 2012 Olympic tennis competition will be staged July 28 â€“ August 5 on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon.Â The U.S. has won 17 Olympic medals in menâ€™s and womenâ€™s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 â€“ more than any other nation.
â€œThese 12 players have worked extremely hard to earn selection to the U.S. Olympic Team, and they will be granted the tremendous honor of playing for their country on the worldâ€™s biggest stage,â€ said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA.Â â€œThat the competition is being held on perhaps tennisâ€™ most hallowed grounds, these Olympics will surely augment a memorable summer of tennis.â€
â€œWe have a very experienced team replete with gold medalists and a doubles team that is currently the best in the world,â€ said Fernandez, who has led the U.S. Fed Cup Team to the Fed Cup final in two of her three years as Captain.Â â€œI am honored to have the opportunity to coach this team at the Olympics and firmly believe that we have a team capable of competing for multiple medals.â€
â€œOur guys are honored to be representing their country, and are relishing the opportunity to compete for gold at Wimbledon,â€ said Berger, who has been the USTA Player Development Head of Menâ€™s Tennis since 2008.Â â€œI am confident that we will be in medal contention in both singles and doubles.â€
Serena Williams, 30, is undefeated and a two-time gold medalist in doubles (2000 and 2008), and a quarterfinalist in her only Olympic singles appearance in 2008. She is a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion, including four Wimbledon singles titles and has captured 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles. She is one of six women in history to have held the No. 1 rankings in both singles and doubles simultaneously.Â Williams is a perfect 11-0 in Fed Cup play, including 8-0 in singles, and she helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.
Venus Williams, 32, is the most decorated Olympic tennis player in U.S. history with three gold medals, and will become the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympic Games. She captured the gold medal in singles in 2000 and won gold medals in doubles with her sister Serena in 2000 and 2008.Â She is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, including five Wimbledon titles, and has won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles.Â Williams is 18-4 in Fed Cup competitions, including a 14-2 singles record, and she helped lead the U.S. to the 1999 title.
Christina McHale, 20, will make her Olympic debut in London.Â She captured the bronze medal in singles and silver medal in doubles at the 2011 Pan American Games, and has reached the third round of the last three Grand Slam events to help her crack the WTA Top 30 for the first time.Â She is 4-3 in singles in Fed Cup play, with all four wins coming in 2012.
Varvara Lepchenko, 26, will make her Olympic debut and represent the U.S. for the first time since becoming an official citizen in September 2011.Â She is a native of Uzbekistan who received political asylum from the U.S. in 2001, and changed her nationality to officially represent the U.S. in 2007.Â Lepchenko was one of just two Americans to reach the fourth round at the 2012 French Open.
Liezel Huber, 35, will make her second Olympic appearance for the U.S. after competing in doubles in 2008.Â She also competed for South Africa at the 2000 games in Sydney.Â She is currently the worldâ€™s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Lisa Raymond, and has captured five Grand Slam womenâ€™s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon) and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.Â Huber has an 8-2 doubles record for the U.S. in Fed Cup play (17-4 career with U.S. and South Africa), and helped lead the U.S. to the consecutive Fed Cup finals in 2009-10.
Lisa Raymond, 38, will make her second Olympic appearance after reaching the third round in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles in 2004.Â Currently the worldâ€™s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Liezel Huber (Raymond became the oldest woman to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking in either singles or doubles.).Â Raymond has captured six Grand Slam womenâ€™s doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 2001, and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.Â She has an 11-3 Fed Cup doubles record (14-9 overall), and helped lead the U.S. to 2000 Fed Cup title.
John Isner, 27, will make his Olympic debut at the site where he competed in the longest match in tennis history, defeating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of their 2010 first round match that spanned 11 hours and five minutes over three days.Â He has recorded victories over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Roger Federer thus far in 2012, and recently cracked the ATP World Tour Top 10 for the first time.Â Isner is 7-3 in Davis Cup play, including a 4-0 mark in 2012 to help lead the U.S. to the semifinals in September.
Andy Roddick, 29, will make his second Olympic appearance after reaching the singles quarterfinals in 2004.Â Roddick captured the 2003 US Open and is a three-time finalist at Wimbledon, including 2009, when he lost to Roger Federer 16-14 in the longest fifth set in Wimbledon final history.Â He has also captured four titles at the Wimbledon tune-up at Queens Club, and last week he captured his first title at the grass court event in Eastbourne.Â Roddick owns 33 Davis Cup singles victories, second-most all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history, and helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 title.
Ryan Harrison, 20, will make his Olympic debut in London, after breaking into the ATP World Tour Top 50 for the first time this week.Â In 2008, Harrison became the third-youngest player since 1990 to win a main draw match on the ATP World Tour, and he reached the quarterfinals on grass in Nottingham in 2010.Â Harrison made his U.S. Davis Cup debut in the 2012 World Group first round against Switzerland.
Donald Young, 22, will make his Olympic debut in London.Â He reached his first career ATP World Tour final in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2011, and reached a career-high No. 38 in February 2012.Â Young became the youngest player to end a year ranked No. 1 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in 2005 at age 16, and captured the boysâ€™ singles title at Wimbledon in 2007.
Bob Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance.Â He captured the bronze medal in menâ€™s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Mike.Â Together, they own 11 Grand Slam menâ€™s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon), and Bob has won seven mixed doubles titles. The Bryans own a record 78 ATP World Tour doubles titles together, and have finished as the worldâ€™s No. 1 doubles team in seven of the last nine years.Â Bob and Mike are each 20-2 in Davis Cup doubles play, including 19-2 record together, which ranks first all-time in Davis Cup history.Â They helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 Davis Cup title.
Mike Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance. He captured the bronze medal in menâ€™s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Bob.Â In addition to the 11 Grand Slam menâ€™s doubles titles he won with his brother, Mike has also won two mixed doubles titles.Â Mike owns 80 ATP World Tour doubles titles (two more than Bob, having posted a 14-2 record in 2002 with four different partners other than Bob).
Venus and Serena Williams are the last American women to win Olympic gold in tennis, having captured the 2008 gold medal in womenâ€™s doubles.
Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Olympic gold in menâ€™s singles when he defeated Spainâ€™s Sergi Bruguera in the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso are the last American team to win Olympic gold in menâ€™s doubles when they defeated Spainâ€™s Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in the gold medal match at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Tennis was part of the Olympic program from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 until 1924.Â After a 64-year hiatus, tennis returned to the official Olympic program in 1988, becoming the first sport to feature professional athletes.
Team nominations were made by the USTAâ€™s Olympic Oversight Committee and are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation.
Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, David Ferrer easily advanced at the French Open on Saturday. Seeded casualties on the day included (9)Caroline Wozniacki (14) Francesca Schiavone, (22) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and (25) Julia Goerges.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal sailed past Argentinaâ€™s Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.
â€œI played a solid match, but say itâ€™s my best or not, was similar to the second against Istomin.Â And today I thinkÂ I mean, Istomin I played a very high level the third set.Â Today the third set I stopped a little bit, you know.Â I didnâ€™t play as good as I did in the previous two.
â€œI probably stopped a little bit my legs, and I had the break, and after the break I was solid with my serve.
â€œBut in general is important victory for me.Â Straight sets, good feelings.Â Thatâ€™s most important thing, and I happy.â€
Sharapova continued her domination of the field with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Shuai Peng. â€œYeah, I came into today,â€ Sharapova said, â€œknowing that Iâ€™m facing a pretty tough opponent who I have had trouble against in the past, who has beaten me before.Â And played three sets with her a couple of times.â€
â€œSo she can really play, and, you know, she hits the ball really well.Â You know, but I tried to get her on the run today and really move her, you know, stay aggressive.Â I served well and returned well, and I thought that was really important, especially against her.â€
Andy Murray showed no signs of the back injury that has bothered him for the last few weeks when he took out Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
â€œI felt like I moved pretty well today,â€ Murray said.Â â€œI mean, when youâ€™re playing in slams, I just think each day you need to take as it comes.Â And I felt, you know, much better than I did the other day.Â I felt better than I did yesterday.â€
David Ferrer destroyed Mikhail Youznhy so completely 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 that the Russian wrote the word â€œsorriâ€ in the clay with his foot.
“There was a lot of people. That’s why I write `sorry.’ Because I can’t show them a nice game,” said an apologetic Youzhny. “The way we played in the beginning, it was not really interesting for people.”
“People in the stands may not have noticed, but I think I had to do this.”
Defending Roland Garros Champion Li Na needed three sets to oust American Christine McHale 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
â€œYeah, I think I started off playing pretty well,â€ Mchale said..Â â€œYeah, I think her experience in the end helped and she started playing better as the match went on.
â€œSo, yeah, Iâ€™ll just have to use this match and learn from it.Â Playing players like her in these rounds at tournaments is still new for me.
â€œSo, yeah, Iâ€™m just going to take the positives from it and keep going.â€
â€œSheâ€™s a very dangerous player,â€ said Li Na. â€œI mean, I was happy I can win match today, because I have more experience.â€
2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone fell to American Varvara Lepchenko 3-6, 6-3, 8-6. The win puts Lepchenko into the fourth round. She along with Sloane Steephens means that two unseeded US women are in the fourth round of a major for the first time since Wimbledon in 2002.
“I was fighting all the way to the end, I was trying to stay with Francesca the whole time,” Lepchenko told media.
“She played amazing and it is her court and I knew that she was not going to give it away for free.”
Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki could not complete a comeback against Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3. Kanepi served for the match five times over the last two sets before closing the contest.
NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 26, 2012 â€“ American No. 2 Christina McHale has committed to play the 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester.
The teenager from Englewoods Cliffs, New Jersey has had a great start to 2012, recording a win over reigning Wimbledon champion and World No. 3 Petra Kvitova, amassing an undefeated record for the United States in Fed Cup play, and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 32 in the world. Last year as a wildcard at the New Haven Open, McHale beat two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her run to the quarterfinals. Just two weeks prior, McHale became the lowest-ranked player to defeat world No. 1 and four-time New Haven Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in all of 2011.
â€œWe are thrilled to have Christina return to play at the New Haven Open,â€ said Worcester. â€œShe is a rising American star who has climbed more than 70 spots in the WTA rankings over the past year. She is another example of how the stars of tomorrow annually shine at the New Haven Open.â€
On Thursday, McHale demonstrated what it takes to be a top tennis player to 300 New Haven first and second graders in the 11th annual First Niagara Tennis Play Day (formerly the Free Lesson), introducing many of them to the sport and showing them the importance of fitness in their lives through fun, low pressure play. The kids were also encouraged to continue playing tennis by signing up for affordable summer programs offered by New Haven Parks & Rec. To date, more than 5,000 New Haven kids have participated in these year-round tennis programs which offer a safe place to play, academic support and mentoring, as well as competitive tennis opportunities to children and youth throughout New Haven.
As an added incentive for the kids to continue playing tennis, First Niagara will be donating tennis equipment including age-appropriate tennis balls and nets to all nine participating elementary schools: Davis, Sheriden, Troup, Barnard, Truman, Martinez, Edgewood, Fairhaven and St. Aedan/St. Brendan.
â€œFirst Niagara is pleased to offer tennis equipment to these New Haven elementary schools,â€ said First Niagara Regional President David Ring. â€œWe are dedicated to the local communities in which we live and work, and giving back to these young members of our community is just one way First Niagara is able to help fulfill its commitment to corporate social responsibility.â€
Previous pros leading the First Niagara Tennis Play Day include World No. 11 John Isner, Connecticut native Thomas Blake, former ATP pro Taylor Dent, General Manager of USTA Player Development Patrick McEnroe, former US Olympic coach Zina Garrison and past WTA professionals Mashona Washington and Alexandra Stevenson.
About New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara has always been much more than a tennis tournament; it is a leading example of leveraging a large-scale international sporting event to generate $26 million in regional economic impact and to build community pride, spirit and engagement, especially among youth. The 2011 tournament featured World No. 1 and now four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, and three Grand Slam champions Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The womenâ€™s-only WTA event is part of the Olympus US Open Series and will be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The New Haven Open is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and also broadcast around the world. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit www.newhavenopen.com
The United States is back in the World Group of Fed Cup thanks to 5-0 sweep of Ukraine on an outdoor red clay court at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
After leading 2-0 after Day One, Serena Williams opened play on Sunday and clinched the tie with a 6-3, 6-2, win over Lesia Tsurenko.
â€œIt is good. I feel really good about it,â€ said Williams. â€œNow we are back in the World Group, where we wanted to be and it feels really good to get two points and that way Christina does not have too much pressure out there like she did for me yesterday.â€
The win gives Williams an 8-0 record in her Fed Cup singles career in live rubbers.
â€œIt is good to have Mary Joe (Fernandez US Fed Cup Captain) out there. I told her at the beginning of the week, whatever you want to tell me, tell me. I am all ears, I am all open and I am open to any suggestions. I am out there to learn. I feel like I am a kid learning. I havenâ€™t accomplished everything. It is good to have a coach and different eyes out there.â€
In the dead rubber singles match, Christina McHale won her fourth consecutive live rubber match in Fed Cup defeating Elina Svitolina 7-5, 6-3.
â€œI am really happy with how this week went practice-wise and how the matches went. We have a lot of fun, the whole team does, the whole time. It has been a great week [in Ukraine].â€ said McHale.
â€œThat was our goal to get back into the World Group. I think we are all really excited about that. We have had two really good ties this year, and I am really pleased with how they went.â€
In doubles, Liezel Huber teamed up with Sloane Stephens to defeat Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiya Kichenok 6-4, 6-1 in a dead rubber.Â The doubles match also marks the first tie Stephens has ever played in Fed Cup. She served as a practice partner during the 2012 World Group II First Round against Belarus and was a non-playing team member during the 2010 World Group Semifinal versus Russia. Stephens is now the 12th youngest player to make her Fed Cup debut for the U.S team at 19 years, 1 month.
DAY/LOCAL TIMEÂ Â Â Â MATCHÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â PAIRING
Singles A:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Christina McHale (USA) Â def. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
Singles B:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Serena Williams (USA) def. Â Elina Svitolina (UKR)Â 6-2, 6-1
Singles C: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Serena Williams (USA) def. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-2
Singles D: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Christina McHale (USA) def. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5. 6-3
Doubles: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Lyudmyla Kichenok
The US has taken a 2-0 lead on day one of the Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Ukraine on Saturday.Â Christina McHale, who captured her third consecutive Fed Cup singles win lead offÂ the day beating Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
â€œI started off well in the first set and then she started to pick up her game in the second,” McHale said. “In the third set I donâ€™t think there was a turning point. It was pretty close going back and forth. I managed to hold my serve at 5-3, and I think I played a good game to close it out.â€
â€œShe came out really strong in the third,” said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “I discussed with her about focusing on the right things to make a good place for herself out there. When she does that, sheâ€™s really active with her footwork and becomes much more aggressive. She was able to do that right away and finish really strong. I was really pleased and proud of the way she closed out the third set.”
Serena Williams moved to 7-0 in Fed Cup singles play with byÂ defeating Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-1.
â€œI thought she played really well, ” Williams said of her opponent. “She has a good game. And sheâ€™s extremely young, so she has plenty of time for [her game] to be even better than what it is.â€
Fernandez added: â€œIt was a fantastic start by both Christina and Serena. They both really played their game. Christina did a good job to close out her match today. I thought Serena did a good job playing her first match on red clay. There were some bad bounces but [Serena] definitely made the adjustments, and really played aggressively. Both players did really well today.â€
Williams is expected to open Day Two against Tsurenko, followed by the second singles match with McHale and Svitolina. In doubles, Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens are scheduled to face sisters Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiya Kichenok.
Should the U.S. win tomorrow, it would regain its Fed Cup World Group status and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2013.
DAY/LOCAL TIMEÂ Â Â Â MATCHÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â PAIRING
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Â Â Â Â Singles A:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Christina McHale (USA) Â def. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
Singles B:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Serena Williams (USA) def. Â Elina Svitolina (UKR)Â 6-2, 6-1
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Singles C: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) vs. Serena Williams (USA)
Singles D: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs. Christina McHale (USA)
Doubles: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiya KichenokÂ (UKR) vs. Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens (USA)
The United States will face Ukraine this weekend in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff. The tie is being held at the Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 21, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 22. Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
The US team held a pre-draw news conference on Thursday.
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez
When asked about the criteria used in choosing the team: â€œUsually you look through the rankings to see whoâ€™s playing well, and you look at some of the good match-ups, as well as whoâ€™s healthy, and put together the best team possible for that tie.â€
On some of the strengths of the Ukrainian team: â€œI know quite a bit about the opponents. Iâ€™ve watched some of the players. They are a young team but very eager. They played very well in their first round against Italy. We look forward to the challenge when we face them.
When asked about having a young team: â€œEverybody on the team has really improved and worked really hard. Itâ€™s nice to have young players coming up and doing well. Jamie, Sloan [Stephens] and Christina [McHale] have really pushed each other and its nice to see them develop as really good players.â€
On Serena and Liezel leading the team: â€œIts great to have two great champions like Serena and Liezel playing on your team with the experience they bring and a lot of grand slam titles. And they share that [experience] with the younger members. Now looking ahead, you look to the young players to become the leaders eventually. We start early and develop. Iâ€™ve had all of these players for a few years now, and they are developing really well and getting better every day.â€
On the Bondarenko sisters not playing on the Ukrainian team: â€œI was surprised that at least one of the Bondarenko sisters was not competing on the Ukrainian team. I know them pretty well from the tour.â€
When asked about how sheâ€™s feeling about her game and coming off of good back-to-back matches: â€œI feel really good about it. Iâ€™m really enjoy playing on clay because clay is a lot different. Iâ€™m looking forward to just continuing, and that my good playing carries over to Fed Cup.â€
When asked about playing Fed Cup in Ukraine and missing some of the past ties: â€œIâ€™m here to play with my team. I ran into some health problems the last few years and that is why I was not able to play Fed Cup the last few times.â€
When asked about playing Fed Cup: â€œI love being on a team. I love playing for my country. We always have a good week leading up and hopefully this will be another one of those weeks.â€
On playing with for the U.S. versus for South Africa: â€œI think Iâ€™ve actually played more ties for the U.S. now, and I definitely have had more victories. I prefer when somebody wonders where I learned to play the game that they guess South Africa first. But I feel more American and this is home for me.â€
Â Quotes provided by the USTA
From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 11, 2012 — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams will be joined by Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber in representing the U.S. against Ukraine in the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff at the Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 21-22. Jaime Hampton will also travel with the team. Fernandez will ultimately choose her four-person lineup prior to the draw ceremony on April 20.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 21, with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, April 22.Â Tennis Channel will present daily coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
The match will mark the first-ever matchup between the U.S. and Ukraine in Fed Cup competition.Â The winner of this match will advance to the 2013 World Group and a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year.Â The loser will be relegated to World Group II in 2013.
â€œI know the team and I are very eager for the task ahead of us against Ukraine. This is our opportunity to play for our spot back into the world group for next year,â€ said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. â€œPlaying on the road always presents a difficult challenge, but our team has been playing very well lately and will be ready to compete.â€
Williams, 30, will make her second consecutive appearance in Fed Cup after playing in the World Group II first round against Belarus where she won both singles matches to remain undefeated in her Fed Cup career.Â She captured her 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2010, and then returned from a year-long injury hiatus to reach the final at the 2011 US Open.Â She has also partnered with sister Venus to win 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, and has been ranked No. 1 in the world in both singles and doubles.Â Williams is 6-0 in Fed Cup singles play, and helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.Â She and Venus also won the Olympic gold medal in womenâ€™s doubles in 2000 and 2008.
McHale, 19, will be making her third consecutive appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup team and fourth overall.Â She was dominant in the World Group II first round against Belarus, losing just five games in two singles matches to record the first two Fed Cup wins of her career.Â McHale had a career year in 2011, defeating world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open Series event in Cincinnati and then upsetting Marion Bartoli en route to the third round at the US Open.Â She is coming off a third round appearance at the 2012 Australian Open and is currently a career-high No. 33 in the world.Â McHale trained full-time at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., from 2007-10, and currently trains at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Stephens, 19, is currently ranked a career-high No. 75, and reached the third round of the US Open in 2011. She reached the second round of the 2012 Australian Open, and most recently the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami as a qualifier.Â The daughter of former New England Patriots running back John Stephens, she won the girlsâ€™ doubles titles at the last three Grand Slam events of 2010, and helped lead the U.S. to the 2008 Junior Fed Cup title.
Huber, 35, has won seven of her nine career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.Â Currently the top-ranked doubles player in the world, Huber owns five Grand Slam womenâ€™s doubles titles, including the 2011 US Open title, and won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team (1998-00, â€™03) where she posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties.Â She became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (where she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals).Â Huber and Martina Navratilova are the only players in Fed Cup history to have represented another nation before playing for the U.S.
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the worldâ€™s largest annual international womenâ€™s team competition with 90 countries competing in 2012.Â The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.Â For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup.
â€œShe started off really well, serving really well,â€ noted McHale. â€œI couldn’t get a read on her serve in the first set, and I wasn’t moving very well, either.
â€œAnd then I just kind of hung in there early in the second, and then she started she played one service game where she gave me a couple of loose errors, and then I just kind of kept hanging in there, and then I got more comfortable as the match went on.
McHale spoke about the atmosphere during her upset victory,â€Wherever I play and anywhere in the States the crowd is always great.Â Especially here, like the crowd gets so into it.Â I mean, it’s amazing, like they get so into it.â€
Kvitova has been been battling a virus she picked up while she was in the Middle East which caused her to lose energy during her match against McHale.
â€œI lost a little bit of my fitness so it was tough moving and having winners,â€ she said. â€œ(McHale) was moving very well so she played a lot of shots back. (And) my serve was not really good, too. She played very solid and she didnâ€™t make mistakes so it was tough.â€
McHale notched her first win over a top five player last summer in Cincinnati with a victory over then No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Second ranked Rafael Nadal played his first match since falling in the Australian Open Final in January when he dismissed Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-3. The Spaniard said that heâ€™s happy to be playing: â€œVery happy to be back in competition, that’s the first thing.Â This is a tournament that I love.Â I enjoy a lot playing this tournament.Â Always in my career had good success here.Â I played very good matches.
â€œIs nice to be back playing at the very good level, in my opinion.Â Winning is the most important thing.Â Not easy be back after a while without competition, but I did, I believe, really well.
â€œI started the match very focused, very aggressive.Â Today only thing I can say, I’m very happy.Â I’m very happy about almost everything.â€
Roger Federer made quick work of American Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-1 in 57 minutes. Federer told media that heâ€™s dealing with a slight fever and a bit of a cold.
â€œItâ€™s not a terrible temperature, but thereâ€™s something going on,â€ Federer said.
World No.1 Victoria Azarenka made a 180 degree turn from her last in which she was taken to three sets. It was an easy day for the Belarusian who topped two-time major champion Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2.
â€œI know Sveta pretty well,â€ said Azarenka who went into the match with a 1-4 record against the Russian.Â We have practiced quite a few times, and I know she’s a great player.Â You know, she has so much experience.Â She’s been a Grand Slam winner, so I knew she’s gonna be dangerous.
â€œI really had to step it up from my last match.Â I’m glad I could perform much better than I did in my first match and show some good tennis.Â So I’m really pleased with that.â€
Upsets and Upset Stomachs
Eight players have been felled by an intestinal virus at the BNP Paribas Open. The latest player forced to withdraw was Vera Zvonareva who issued a statement:
“I’m really sorry to withdraw from the tournament but unfortunately I’m not feeling well enough to compete today. Hopefully I can recover from the illness and play in the next event [Miami] but today I just don’t feel that I can go out there and perform well enough. Indian Wells is one the best tournaments on the WTA, I have great memories here and have won here in the past, so it’s a special place for me and I’m sorry I cannot play. I hope to come back here healthy next year.”
Zvonareva joins Gael Monfils, Jurgen Melzer, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Andreas Seppi, Magdalena Rybarikova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands sidelined with the illness.
The illness is widespread that the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs issued a statement:
â€œThere is currently a Coachella Valley wide virus which is resulting in
symptoms of nausea and vomiting, fever, and subsequent diarrhea. It is self-limited and lasts between 24 and 48 hrs. It is transmitted by air
and direct contact and not passed via food.
â€œEmergency Departments across the valley have seen an increase in
patients with these symptoms. At Eisenhower Medical Center, which
provides medical support for the BNP Paribas Open, we have seen
increases in overall visits to the Emergency Department by about 15%
over the past week, mostly adults and children with these symptoms. We have seen fans and players at the tournament experience these symptoms as well.
Precautions include, hand washing and use of antibacterial cleansers.
If you should experience these symptoms you should attempt to drink as much fluid as possible including water and electrolyte/ sport drinks.
Avoid the sun, rest and wait until the symptoms pass before coming in
contact with others.â€
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d  Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 63 64
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)Â d  Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 63 63
Steve Darcis (BEL) vs  Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
Denis Istomin (UZB)Â d  Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) 76(5) 67(7) 64
(32) Christina McHale (USA) d. (3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 26 62 63
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d  VeraÂ Zvonareva (RUS)Â w/o (illness)
Llodra fined for Fan Abuse
The ATP announced that Frenchman Michael Llodra has been fined $2,500 for verbally abusing a spectator during his first round win over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis at Indian Wells on Friday. Llodra withdrew from his match against fellow countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a knee injury trailing 1-4 on Sunday.
Caroline Wozniacki interrupting Mardy Fishâ€™s news conference on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open:
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Excuse me, I have a question.Â We all know that you’re so good.Â You finished off the match very quickly, but can you please finish off your press conference?Â I’m actually after you, and I’d like to go back and…
MARDY FISH:Â How well did Rory play today?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Very nice, yeah.
MARDY FISH:Â Very good.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â 7â€‘under.Â How’s your golf game?
MARDY FISH:Â Horrible.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â I don’t believe you.Â You have your clubs here, I bet.
MARDY FISH:Â I do.Â I haven’t played well.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â You should go out and play.
MARDY FISH:Â I haven’t played well.Â I might take a lesson from you.
Q.Â How do you think he’d do on the PGA?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â No comment. Â (Laughter.)
Wozniacki tackles golf Questions
Q.Â What tennis player would do the best on the tour?Â Aside from Rory, what golfer, do you think would do best in tennis?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Â Well, I heard Mardy Fish, you know, has been playing loads of golf, so maybe he could make it to the PGA TOUR.Â If not PGA, then LPGA.Â Go for the women’s tees.
Q.Â You were mentioning I think when Rory was playing Match Playâ€‘â€‘ do you remember that tournament?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Yeah.
Q.Â Do you like that a little bit better because it’s sort of like tennis when it’s one person against the other?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Yeah.Â I think it’s very interesting when they have match play.Â Unfortunately, I think for me that’s only once a year; but at the same time it’s also much more stressful because, you know, it’s headâ€‘toâ€‘head and you can bump out straightaway.
So, you know, especially if you follow someone that you want to do well, you know, in the normal tournament, okay, not doing great the first day but keeping yourself in there, and, you know, second day making the cut and keeping yourself in contention.
So that’s a little bit less stressful.Â So in the long run I think it’s better for me ifâ€‘â€‘ you know, I like to be aggresstic [sic] sometimes, so a long round for me I think is better the way it is.
Q.Â Do you get stressed when you watch him play?Â Does he get stressed when he watches you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â I think so, yeah.Â But actually I think my mom gets more stressed, so I need to keep her away from the TVs.Â She’s actually like jumping up and, yeah, it’s…
Q.Â When he’s playing?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â When he’s playing.Â When I’m playing, she’s fine.Â (Laughter.)
Q.Â Before you met Rory, did you ever watch golf?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Once in a while.Â Once in a while.Â Not like this.Â I would watch maybe the majors a little bit and, you know, I would know the top guys.Â I thinkâ€‘â€‘ I just like sports in general, so, you know, I watch almost everything.
Q.Â Did you play golf before you met him?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â A few times, but not really, no.Â I wasn’t really into playing myself.
Q.Â Do any of the other players on the WTA play golf?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:Â Daniela Hantuchova plays a little bit.Â I know Ana is playing a little bit, but not so much.Â But I know that there is a few of the players that would like to play more.
I mean, the men, I think 90% or 95% of the guys play.Â That’s quite fun.Â Just more fun for me if I’m out there on the golf course.
Nadal on the whether he takes too much time between points
Q.Â Roger Federer has suggested that he feels that sometimes you take too longÂ â€‘â€‘
RAFAEL NADAL:Â Yeah, I answered this question the other day.Â Don’t recreate history about that.
Q.Â I have something I’d like to add.Â Today I timed the period between the end of the point and your serve, and you were always within the allowable limit.Â Were you hurrying because of what Roger said?
RAFAEL NADAL:Â Sure after a long career that’s going to affect on me.Â But anyway, you know, that’s the only thing.Â We are nobody to say things that the umpire decides.Â That’s the only thing that I can answer.
Azarenka on a potential perfect season?
Q.Â Have you thought of possibly having an unbeaten season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â (Smiling.)Â It’s a long season.
Q.Â You laugh, but in 1983, Martina Navratilova was 86â€‘1; in 1989 Steffi Graf was 86â€‘2.Â Just think, you could be the first one possibly to avoid defeat.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Way to put pressure, huh?Â (Laughter.)
I don’t know.Â I don’t think way so much ahead.Â As I said, it’s very long season.Â Of course it would be a great achievement to achieve that.Â But it’s so far along, I just try to focus on every single match there is.
I mean, what was about 25 years ago, you know, I mean, those amazing players, it’s really hard to duplicate.Â So I’m just trying to make it my own way, and we’ll see how far I can go.
Confidence is overrated?
Q.Â You were saying that you think that confidence is overrated.Â You said that before.Â Can you talk about that a little bit?Â Because I think from a lot of us we are used to players saying that confidence is everything for them.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah, I mean, confidence is just something imaginary, what people, I guess, feel or they think they feel.Â It’s just, I guess, that boost of energy that gives you maybe extra motivation to play.
For me, it’s just doesn’t matter how confident you are if you don’t put up the work, if you don’t make and if you’re not disciplined enough, you know, it’s just not gonna help you win matches, your confidence, right?
You have to put a lot of hard work into it, pay so much attention to all the details, how you do things, and that’s it.Â What’s the most important for me is routine, the discipline, that, you know, giving it all every day.
Confidence, I guess, okay, confidence I have then.
On the stomach flu going around the tournament area which has already sidelined eight players:
Q.Â Have you heard about some of this illness that’s been going around the grounds?Â Are you taking any extra precautions?
CHRISTINA McHALE:Â It’s kind of scary.Â I feel like a lot of players are getting sick.Â I’m just trying to wash my hands more than regular, yeah.
Q.Â Have you been at all worried about the illness that’s been going around, the players in the area, the virus?
ROGER FEDERER:Â Well, I haven’t hung around much at all, so worried, yes.Â I guess everyone is, yes.Â But, yeah, we’re fighting something of our own in our family, so it doesn’t matter where it’s coming.
Q.Â Someone with you has it, or…
ROGER FEDERER:Â Yeah, we have tons of stuff going on at the moment.Â (Laughter.)
Q.Â Is it just a cold or is it a flu?
ROGER FEDERER:Â I don’t know.Â I have a bit of a combination.Â Not terrible temperature, but I have some things going on.Â But I’m best off from the family, so thank God I’m the tennis player here.
No, the rest of them are struggling much more.
Q.Â Speaking a little bit more emotional and social side of things, obviously you’re Canadian, but as everybody knows, you were born in Montenegro, Yugoslavia.Â Can you talk about the camaraderie on the tour from the players from former Yugoslavia, which clearly include not just the Djokovic and the other Serbs, Cilic, Ljubicic, the Croatians, but also fellow Canadians, Daniel Nestor, Frank Dancevic.Â Do you feel as much a part of that exâ€‘Yugoslav community as you do the Canadian players on tour?
MILOS RAONIC:Â Well, there is a lot more there is a lot more Serbian, Croatia players on the tour, so, yeah, I do get along with them.Â They’re good friends, good people.Â We connect in a big way just from culture.
We have a lot of great things to talk about.Â I have been to Serbia a few times; they have vacationed in Montenegro a few times.
I get along well with Daniel and with the Spaniards as well since I am training there.
I just I think everybody pretty much on tour nowadays is a good person.Â There is really no everybody is really trying to make the most, not only on the tennis court, but as a person.
So everybody gets along quite well with other players.Â Obviously there is a few probably not greatest relationships, but that’s outside of it.
I think Novak, for example, he’s a great player, but he was one of the few players that after my win in San Jose would still message me.Â That meant a lot, especially from all the things â€‘â€‘ I’m there winning a 250 and he’s going around winning Australian Open, so it’s nice to hear.
It’s just fun to be on tour when you have that many people to relate to, to get along with.Â It’s a pretty lonely being on the road this much, but when you have that many guys there, it’s a great relationship.Â It makes it a lot more fun and easier to get through the year.
Q.Â Do you get as many “ajdes” and “idemos” from the crowd as you do “come ons”?
MILOS RAONIC:Â I don’t really hear what’s being said in the crowd.Â I try to blank out as much as I can.Â I think it all depends on where you play, as well.
Partial transcripts courtesy of ASAPSports.