September 4, 2015

Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

(April 14, 2015) Venus Williams has pulled out of this weekend’s Fed Cup playoff in Italy due to “a personal matter.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Williams will be replaced by No 57 Lauren Davis.

No. 1 Serena Williams will lead team USA which also includes No. 45 Alison Riske and No. 65 Christina McHale.

The Italian team consists No. 15 Sara Errani, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, No. 36 Camila Giorgi and No. 55 Karin Knapp.

The United States will face Italy for the fifth time in seven years in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff, held at Circolo Tennis Brindisi on an outdoor red clay court, this weekend April 18-19. The winner of best-of-five series will move into the World Group in 2016 for a chance to play for the Fed Cup title. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II.

The U.S. leads the overall series against Italy 9-4, losing the last four ties.

Share

US Advances to Fed Cup World Group Playoffs with win over Argentina

Venus fistpump

(February 8, 2015) Venus Williams led the USA Fed Cup team into the World Group Playoffs on Sunday when she defeated Maria Irigoyen of Argentina 6-1, 6-4 in the second match of the day to clinch the tie at 3-1. Sister Serena did not play the first rubber of the day due to an illness. She was replaced by Coco Vandeweghe, who lost to Paula Ormaechea 6-4, 6-4.

The Americans will play in the World Group Playoffs the weekend of April18-19. They will face one of the following teams: Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland winners in World Group II, and the four World Group first round losers, Australia, Canada, Italy and Poland. The draw will take place on Tuesday.

The Americans have won the Fed Cup title 17 times, more than any other nation, with their last Fed Cup coming in 2000.

USA defeated ARGENTINA 4-1

Venue: Pilara Tennis Club, Buenos Aires (clay – outdoors)

Venus Williams (USA) d. Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 63 62
Serena Williams (USA) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 75 60
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) d. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 64 64
Venus Williams (USA) d. Maria Irigoyen (ARG) 61 64

Taylor Townsend/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Tatiana Bua/Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 62 63

Share

Williams Sisters Give USA 2-0 Lead Over Argentina in Fed Cup

 

 

(February 7, 2015) The Williams sisters gave the United States an expected 2-0 lead over Argentina in their Fed Cup World Group II tie on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Venus defeated Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-2, in the first match, and Serena, figured out her opponent and beat Maria Irigoyen 7-5, 6-0.

Venus, who is ranked No. 11 in the world, defeated No. 121 Ormaechea, 6-3, 6-2, in just one hour and 20 minutes,

“There were a lot of deuce games and Paula really competed well,” Venus said of the match. “She started coming back at 5-0 in the second set, so I had to find a way to put it away. I never thought she was going to give up. It was a good thing for our team to get that first point.”

“There were a couple of breaks in the beginning, but there were interesting circumstances to this match—you are playing for your country and it was my first time on clay. I was just trying to find my rhythm. Once I got broke, I was only thinking about breaking back and holding. By the fifth game, I felt good and it helped me a lot through the rest of the match.”

 

It was two completely different sets,“ Serena said when speaking about her match. “I was trying to find my rhythm. The ball bounced differently than in practice and my feet didn’t move as well in the beginning. The balls hit with more spin today and I needed to get used to that. It is also more humid here. The conditions were hot and the court got a few bad bounces. I was able to find my way there at the end and win.”

Serena can seal the first-round tie on Sunday, in the first of the reverse singles against Ormaechea.

Should the U.S. win, they will be in the playoffs in April, for the opportunity to reach World Group again in 2016.

Share

Serena and Venus Williams Lead US Against Argentina in Fed Cup Tie

Argentina Colombia WCup Soccer

(February 6, 2015) The United States will face Argentina in the Fed Cup World Group II First Round on an outdoor red clay court at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires. Play begins Saturday at 11:00 am local time (9:00 am ET).

 

Opening the tie will be world No. 11 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and world No. 121 Paula Ormaechea. Venus comes to Argentina after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinal, her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010. She holds a 19-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition (15-2 in singles), last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla. She was also a member of the Fed Cup title-winning team in 1999. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

 

“I love the game, competition and everything about tennis,” Venus said in Friday’s draw ceremony. “It is a pleasure to be here and represent the U.S.”

 

“Paula is a great girl and a great player. We have practiced a few times together. I have a lot of respect for her and it will be a good match between us.”

 

 

Ormaechaea has competed in 12 Fed Cup ties for Argentina, holding an 11-7 singles record. She peaked at No. 59 in the world in October 2013 and has reached the third round of the French Open twice (in 2013 and 2014). Venus and Ormaechea have faced each other once on the WTA Tour – in the 2013 French Open, where Venus won, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

 

The second match on Saturday features world No. 1 and 2015 Australian Open champion Serena Williams and world No. 197 Maria Irigoyen. Serena holds a perfect 10-0 singles record in Fed Cup competition, last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach to propel the U.S. back into the World Group last year. She also helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. Williams has now won 19 Grand Slam titles along with the Olympic gold medal in singles and women’s doubles, with sister Venus, at the 2012 Games in London. Irigoyen has competed in 16 Fed Cup ties for Argentina, making her debut in 2008, and holds a 3-5 singles record in Fed Cup play. Irigoyen won her first WTA doubles title last year in Rio de Janeiro and has ranked as high as No. 155 in the world in singles and No. 83 in doubles. Serena and Irigoyen have never faced each other.

 

“It feels good to be in Argentina,” Serena said. “It is a change from Australia because we were on hard courts and now we are on clay. I love the clay. We are all trying to get our feet used to the surface, but the whole team feels really good. I am really excited to be playing here for my team.”

 

“I’ve played in some cozy, small stadiums around the world, including the Ukraine in Fed Cup. It’s a great chance for fans and people to come here to get up close to the tennis. I am excited to play for them.”

 

“I have been here with Venus before and we had a wonderful time. We had the opportunity to play with some kids with disabilities during our last visit and had fun playing with them. The city is really nice and we did a lot of shopping and touring and it was a wonderful experience. It is great to be back.”

 

 

 

This tie marks the first time that the U.S. Fed Cup Team has played in Argentina, as it has previously played them on home and neutral ground. This will mark the fifth matchup between the U.S. and Argentina in Fed Cup competition, where the United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina. The U.S. is 8-11 in away ties since the World Group format was in instituted in 1995 and holds an overall 143-35 record.

 

“We are looking forward to this weekend,” said US Fed Cup captain MaryJoe Fernandez . We had a good week of practice, the club is fantastic, and the courts are in great shape. Obviously it is a big transition for Venus and Serena coming from Australia and changing the surface, but everyone is ready and looking good. We are ready to compete.”

 

 

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2016. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2015 for just the second time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995 (the U.S. competed in the World Group II in 2012).

 

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 99 nations taking part in 2015. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000.

Share

Vandeweghe and Townsend to Replace Keys and Lepchenko On US Fed Cup Team

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

Coco Vandeweghe

Coco Vandeweghe

From the USTA: (February 4, 2015) Coco Vandeweghe and Taylor Townsend will replace Madison Keys and Varvara Lepchenko on the U.S. Fed Cup Team roster for the World Group II First Round in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Keys suffered a leg injury in the Australian Open en route to her first career Grand Slam semifinal, while Lepchenko suffered an illness after competing in Australia and is still recovering.

 

Vandeweghe, 23, is ranked a career-high No. 32 in the world after a strong start to the year, where she reached the third round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the WTA event in Auckland, New Zealand. Vandeweghe made her only appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup Team in the 2010 World Group Final against Italy in San Diego. Townsend, 18, is ranked No. 96 in the world and is making her Fed Cup debut. Vandeweghe and Townsend join Serena Williams and Venus Williams, who were named to the U.S. team last week by U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

 

The United States will face Argentina on an outdoor red clay court at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires, February 7-8. The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. This will mark the fifth matchup between the U.S. and Argentina in Fed Cup competition, where the United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina.

Share

Serena and Venus Williams to lead US Fed Cup Team Against Argentina

USAFEDCUP

From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 28, 2015 — The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez today announced that world No. 1 and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams, former world No. 1 and world No. 18 Venus Williams, No. 30 Varvara Lepchenko and No. 35 and 2015 Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys will represent the U.S. in the 2015 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round against Argentina. The best-of-five match series will be played at the Pilara Tennis Club in Buenos Aires, Feb. 7-8. Former world junior No. 1 Taylor Townsend will also be joining the team in Argentina as a fifth member of the team and practice partner.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 18-19, to compete for a spot in the 2016 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2016. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2015 for just the second time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995. (The U.S. also competed in the World Group II in 2012; it has competed in the World Group all other years.)

 

Argentina Fed Cup Captain Maria-Jose Gaidano named world No. 124 Paula Ormaechea, No. 198 Maria Irigoyen, No. 394 Nadia Podoroska and No. 551 Tatiana Bua to the Argentina team.

 

“We have an incredible amount of talent on this Fed Cup team, with three Australian Open quarterfinalists and four Top 40 players,” said Fernandez. “We are thrilled to be led by Serena, one of the greatest players of all time, as well as Venus, who is playing at the top of her game. I am so proud of Madison and her results in Australia and happy to have her on the team, as well as Varvara, who performs well in Fed Cup and has had a strong start to the year. I have full confidence in this team to play some great tennis in Argentina and help us get one step closer to earning our way back into the World Group next year.”

 

Matches begin on Saturday, Feb. 7, 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, then the No. 2 players meet, followed by a doubles match. Play on Saturday and Sunday begins at 11 a.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). Tennis Channel will present daily coverage.

 

The United States holds a 3-1 record over Argentina in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Argentina in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Surprise, Ariz., where the U.S. won, 3-2, in a fifth-and-decisive doubles rubber won by Julie Ditty and Liezel Huber. The U.S.’s only loss to Argentina came in 1993 in the World Group Quarterfinal in Germany. The two nations also faced each other in 1985 (in Japan) and in 1964 (in Philadelphia). The U.S. has never played Fed Cup in the country of Argentina; all other matches were either at home or on neutral ground. The U.S. is 8-11 in away ties since the World Group format was in instituted in 1995 and holds an overall 143-35 record.

 

World No. 1 Serena Williams, 33, holds a 10-0 singles record and 3-0 doubles record in Fed Cup competition, last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla., to propel the U.S. back into the World Group last year. She also helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. Williams won her 18th Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open and captured the Olympic gold medal in singles and women’s doubles, with sister Venus, at the 2012 Games in London. With the Olympic singles win, Williams joined Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam—the Olympics and the four Grand Slam events—and she is the only person to accomplish the feat in both singles and doubles. Williams regained the No. 1 ranking in the world on Feb. 18, 2013, becoming the oldest woman (at age 31) to hold the top spot since the WTA computer rankings were introduced in November 1975. This was Williams’ sixth stint at No. 1 and took place nearly 11 years after she first became the No. 1-ranked tennis player in the world. Williams has won 64 WTA singles titles and has also been ranked No. 1 in doubles in her career. (She holds 21 doubles titles with sister Venus, including 13 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles.) Williams is currently in the semifinals of the Australian Open and will face Madison Keys on Thursday.

 

World No. 18 Venus Williams, 34, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 at this year’s Australian Open. She re-entered the Top 20 in 2013 for the first time since revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, following the 2011 US Open. Venus holds a 19-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition (15-2 in singles), last playing in the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach. She was also a member of the title-winning team in 1999. Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and has won 46 WTA singles titles. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles. In Olympic play, she has won three gold medals in doubles (with Serena) in 2000, 2008 and 2012, and she captured the singles gold medal in 2000. Venus reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 Australian Open—her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010.

 

Lepchenko, 28, is currently ranked No. 30 in the world. She made her Fed Cup debut in the 2013 World Group First Round in Rimini, Italy, where she posted singles victories over then-world No. 8 Sara Errani and then-world No. 16 Roberta Vinci. Lepchenko was also named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for the 2013 World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach. She peaked at a career-high No. 19 in October 2012 and reached the fourth round of the 2012 French Open—her best result at a Grand Slam event—which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic team. In 2014, she reached her first WTA final in Seoul, upsetting top seed Agnieszka Radwanska. This year, Lepchenko reached the semifinals of the Australian Open tune-up event in Brisbane and the third round of the Australian Open. A native of Uzbekistan, Lepchenko has been living in the U.S. since 2001 after receiving political asylum, and she officially changed her nationality in 2007 to play for the U.S. She became an official U.S. citizen in Sept. 2011.

 

World No. 35 Keys, 19, is named to her third consecutive Fed Cup team after making her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team last year, competing in the World Group First Round in Cleveland against Italy. (She also played in the World Group Playoff in St. Louis against France.) So far in her career, Keys has gone 1-2 in singles and 1-1 in doubles in Fed Cup. Keys advanced to her first career Grand Slam semifinal at this year’s Australian Open, where she upset No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova and No. 18 seed Venus Williams. Keys peaked at No. 27 in the world last July after winning her first WTA title at the grass-court event in Eastbourne, Great Britain. Also in 2014, she reached the semifinals of the WTA Australian Open tune-up event in Sydney and the French Open tune-up event in Strasbourg. In 2011, shebecame 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. Keys is coached by former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport and her husband, Jon Leach.

 

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 99 nations taking part in 2015. For

Share

Teams On The Edge

Courier and Bryans

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(February 1, 2014) SAN DIEGO – With the Southern California sun finally making an appearance and a partisan crowd finally making their presence both seen and heard, it was clearly a new day in this US vs. Great Britain Davis Cup World Group tie.  Nonetheless, the American team was still haunted by yesterday’s failures at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

For a doubles pairing that had just kept the American side alive in this Davis Cup, the Bryan Brothers were in no mood for celebrating—or even smiling—about their win today, neither was US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier.  The Bryans raised their record as a team to 21-4 in the competition on the back of a decisive 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Dominic Inglot and Colin Fleming. Yet, it was clear from the beginning of their press conference that the twins had other things on their minds.

 

“Always feels bad to let the team down,” Bob said.  He was responding to the first question raised.  While the query was about winning this match following two uncharacteristic, five-set Davis Cup losses a season ago, Bryan’s allusion wasn’t lost on anyone.  Bob was as much referencing the still-stinging memories of their 2013 Davis Cup campaign as he was yesterday’s upset loss by Sam Querrey at the hands of James Ward.

 

The Bryans had little mercy on their opponents today, avenging their teammate’s defeat by drawing 45 forced errors from the British pair in a match that didn’t reach the two-hour mark.  Their only hiccup, a loose game on Bob’s serve in the third set, that cost the USA a straight sets triumph. “I think they just take it to you every time,” said Inglot about his opponents. “They always ask a question of you and they’re never going to give you any free points.” “The match can rush away from you,” Fleming added.  “When we got behind in sets, it can become a blur against them.”

 

As uncharitable as the Bryans were on-court, Courier matched in the pressroom.  When asked about Querrey’s chances of springing an upset of 2-time major champion Andy Murray tomorrow, Courier fired with little hesitation, “He’s going to have to play significantly better than he did yesterday to stand a chance.” The British squad, while realistic, wasn’t taking anything for granted.  When asked about Andy Murray’s chances against a player who had just suffered a disappointing loss, another thinly veiled reference to Querrey, British captain Leon Smith stifled the rumor of a smile breaking out on his face and replied “Very good.  Yeah, very good.”

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related articles:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

Share

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

James Ward

James Ward

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(January 31, 2014) SAN DIEGO – “Yeah, from London, Arsenal fan, see myself as a pretty normal bloke,” that’s how James Ward described himself to the assembled press following what was a rather abnormal moment in his career.  On a temporary red clay court constructed in the outfield of a baseball field, 175th ranked James Ward stunned No. 49 Sam Querrey 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in 3 hours and 10 minutes at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

Querrey opened the match in ominous form.  Although he only served 52% in the frame, he stormed to a 6-1 lead in 26 minutes.  This US Davis Cup team’s alpha male was doing the expected versus a presumably outmatched opponent and without much help from his most vaunted weapon.  Asked about moving on from that first set in his post match presser, Ward deadpanned “I thought I couldn’t play much worse than I did in the first set anyway.”

 

With Ward unable to inflict much scoreboard pressure early, he waited for his chances, fully knowing that the situation should ultimately reward him with a few. “They’re one rubber down,” Ward noted. “He’s expected to beat me on paper.  He’s not in an easy position.” After splitting the first six games of the second set though, it looked as if Querrey were about to re-establish his authority on the match. Ward engineered an unlikely comeback from 0-40 down on his serve to hold for 4-3 on serve.  The set went to a tiebreak and it was in that pressure cooker that the big-serving Californian first lost his grip on the match.

 

Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey

It was a topsy turvy affair for the next two sets, Querrey opening the 3rd set strongly, riding newfound momentum to a 6-3 win, backed up by a 4-2 lead in the 4th.  From there, with the expectations shifted back to Querrey, the American, up two sets to one, with a break in the fourth, would only win one more game.  “You know, I think he started to gain some momentum and get some reads on my serve,” Querrey said reflecting on the match.  “You know, kudos to him for making some big shots in the latter part of the match.”

 

The crowd, which had largely been out of the matches all afternoon, in part thanks to Andy Murray’s suffocating victory over Donald Young in the first rubber, began desperately cheering for Querrey to right the ship, but to no avail.  The American No. 1 found himself in a fifth set, a place where he had a 2-7 record; in Davis Cup where he had a 4-6 record.  He wouldn’t improve any of those numbers tonight and his loss leaves the Americans with yet another stat line to try to reverse, 0-2.  The Americans are down 0-2 to Great Britain and will begin trying to take the long road back, starting with the Bryan Brothers tomorrow.  With Murray up next for Querrey, it’ll be the American’s turn to play with no expectations.

 

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related article:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Share