February 9, 2016

Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens Give USA 2-0 Lead Over Poland in Fed Cup

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(February 6, 2016) After the first day of play, the United States leads Poland, 2-0, in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round played on outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village.

 

The U.S. is 20-0 when leading 2-0 after the first day of play (since the World Group format was instituted in 1995). The U.S. is 37-6 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home.

 

In the first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, defeated Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 13 minutes. Stephens trailed, 0-4, in the second set before making a comeback and winning the set.

“I definitely had a little fart there at the beginning of the second set, but I regrouped well and I was happy that I was able to play some solid tennis towards the end,” Stephens said.

“It happens, so all I can really take from that is that I tried my butt off and never gave up. That’s all that really counts.

“I kind of just ran out of gas. Needed some sugar. I had some caffeine and a little taste of a bar and I felt better. I got my energy back up and I was kind of bouncing around again and I felt good. So I think that definitely helped a little bit.

Stephens and Linette had met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. Stephens is now 2-2 in singles in Fed Cup, while Linette is 1-4.

In the second singles match, former world No. 1 Venus Williams defeated world No. 153 Paula Kania, 7-5, 6-2, in one hour and 12 minutes. Williams and Kania had previously met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2. Williams is now 18-2 in singles in Fed Cup. Kania was making her Fed Cup singles debut.

“She had some good shots; she played well; I had a few errors,” Williams said.

“I think I at 5-4 I was actually very relaxed. I think her strengths is playing from behind. I think when she was in front it wasn’t as comfortable for her.

“So just that game, I put some balls in, she missed a few, and at 5-All I probably had more experience than she did.”

“It’s never easy to play Fed Cup because you’re playing for more than yourself. I just get pumped,” said Williams. “The whole crowd is here for you and there’s no other feeling like it in tennis.”

ORDER OF PLAY AND RESULTS

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.       Singles A:              Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Magda Linette (POL), 6-2, 6-4

Singles B:             Venus Williams (USA) def. Paula Kania (POL), 7-5, 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.         Singles C:             Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL)

Singles D:             Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL)

Doubles:               Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Each country’s top singles players will meet on Sunday – Venus Williams (USA) vs. Magda Linette (POL) and Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Paula Kania (POL) – as well as a doubles match pitting CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) against Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska (POL).

 

In Sunday’s first match of the day, Williams will face off against Linette. World No. 12 Williams and world No. 96 Linette have never met on the WTA Tour. The second singles match on Sunday will feature Sloane Stephens and Paula Kania. World No. 25 Stephens and world No. 153 Kania have also never met in WTA competition.

 

Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands are scheduled to take on Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik, who is serving as Poland’s playing captain. Vandeweghe reached the mixed doubles final at this year’s Australian Open and is ranked No. 46 in the world in doubles. Mattek-Sands, ranked No. 6 in the world in doubles, won the 2015 Australian Open and French Open women’s doubles titles with Lucie Safarova and has won 17 career WTA doubles titles overall. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands have never paired up for a doubles match before. Rosolska and Jans-Ignacik have played doubles together 16 times, the last coming in Fed Cup last year. Rosolska is ranked No. 46 in doubles and has won four WTA doubles titles, while Jans-Ignacik is ranked No. 50 in doubles and has won three WTA doubles titles.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

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Fed Cup Preview: USA vs Poland in Hawaii

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(February 5, 2016) Fed Cup is taking place in Hawaii for the first time, as Kailua-Kona hosts the United States and Poland in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round on an outdoor hard court at the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village, February 6-7.

“I think it’s important to grow tennis in countries that don’t see it very often, in communities that don’t see it very often,” said US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

“It’s nice to be here playing Fed Cup for the first time and get new fans, hopefully encourage new children, new players to get involved in the game. This is one way of doing that.”

 

The United States brings a strong team to Hawaii, led by world No. 12 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and world No. 25 Sloane Stephens. CoCo Vandeweghe, who is ranked No. 46 in singles and also reached the mixed doubles final at the 2016 Australian Open, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who is ranked in the Top 10 in the world in doubles, also anchor the team.

 

In Saturday’s first singles match of the day, Sloane Stephens, the United States’ No. 2 singles player, will face off against Poland’s No. 1 player Magda Linette, ranked No. 96 in the world. Stephens and Linette have met once on the WTA Tour last year in Washington D.C., where Stephens went on to win her first career WTA title. In Washington D.C., Stephens defeated Linette, 6-2, 6-1. Stephens and Linette also met as junior players in 2008 at the Eddie Herr, which Stephens also won. Stephens is coming off her second WTA title, winning Auckland prior to the 2016 Australian Open.

” It’s the greatest honor play for your country and be on a team when every week you’re by yourself, Stephens said. “It makes it really fun. Of course, with girls you actually do like and enjoy being around makes it a good week and makes it a lot of fun.”

“I played before in Israel, in Eilat, which is also next to the sea,” Linette said. “But it’s obviously not this beautiful. I’m really enjoying. I believe my team also.

“We are very happy we can be here. We’re just enjoying and we try just to practice as good as we can on the tennis court, and then we just try to enjoy everything else out of the court. We really like it.”

The second singles match on Saturday will feature the United States’ top player Venus Williams versus world No. 153 Paula Kania. Williams and Kania have met once on the WTA Tour in 2014 in Stanford, where Williams won 6-3, 6-2.

“I enjoy being on the team,” said Williams. “I have a really good time on the team. It’s just a fun time. You don’t usually get to do this in tennis. It’s a different experience that you don’t get to have when you grow up as a tennis player, and you’re always solo from beginning to the end. It’s a moment where it’s a break from that.”

Hawaii becomes the 16th state to host Fed Cup. Hawaii hosted Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, in Kohala Coast at the Mauna Lani Racquet Club in the 1992 World Group First Round, where the U.S. team of Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras swept Argentina, 5-0. Hawaii also hosted the SportMaster Tennis Championships of Maui, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Challenger, in mid-January in Maui and was joined by a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event that same week for the first time this year.

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost a point in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road against Argentina and Italy last year.

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017.

 

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. The U.S. is 37-6 in ties played at home and holds an overall 144-36 record.

 

Weekend Line-up

USA v POLAND

Venue: Holua Tennis Center, Kailua Kona, USA (hard – outdoor)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Venus Williams (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Paula Kania (POL)

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alicja Rosolska (POL)

 

Tennis Channel To Air U.S. Versus Poland Fed Cup Tie

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Kooyong to Host Australia vs US Davis Cup First Round Tie in March

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(December 23. 2015) Tennis Australia reports that the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club has been named to host the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie between Australia and the United States from 4 to 6 March 2016.

 

The former home of the Australian Open will host its first Davis Cup tie in 10 years with a portable grass court to be installed on Kooyong’s famous centre court.

 

Australia’s last meeting on grass at Kooyong against the United States took place in 1993 and next year’s tie will mark the two nations’ 46th Davis Cup battle.

 

Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said he was looking forward to leading the team for the first time in March.

 

“To play Davis Cup in Melbourne, the home of tennis in Australia, at a club like Kooyong with so much tennis history is a privilege,” Hewitt said.

 

“Kooyong provides the perfect setting for the team to kick start our Davis Cup campaign on grass and no doubt the home crowd will be right behind us.

 

“The tie against the United States is going to be tough. They have seven men in the top 100 including the likes of John Isner, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Donald Young and Sam Querrey.

 

“It will be my first tie as captain and I’ll be looking to help the boys build on the momentum and progress of 2015.”

 

President of Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club Peter Carew added: “We are absolutely delighted that Tennis Australia has chosen Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club the spiritual home of Australian tennis to host the Davis Cup tie.

 

“To have the Davis Cup tie played on grass on our centre court in the Kooyong stadium will bring back a host of memories for older tennis fans and give the younger fans a sense of the great history of tennis in this country.”

 

Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren said: “We are excited to be welcoming yet another great tennis event to Melbourne. We’re particularly chuffed to play a part in history as Lleyton Hewitt makes his Davis Cup captain’s debut.

“Victorians just love their tennis and the world loves watching all the action here in Melbourne. This is another great chance to show we have the best of everything the game has to offer.”

Australia’s most recent tie against the United States was in 1999 where Hewitt made his Davis Cup debut.

 

Hewitt alongside Pat Rafter led Australia to a 4-1 World Group quarterfinals victory over the United States, whose team included current US Davis Cup captain Jim Courier.

 

Between 1946 and 2006 Kooyong staged 10 Davis Cup ties including the 1983 and 1986 finals against Sweden, both won by Australia.

 

Australia sits second to the United States on the all-time list of Davis Cup champions, having won the prestigious competition 28 times to the States’ 32.

 

Ticketing information for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie will be released in January 2016.

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Hawaii to Host Fed Cup for the First Time as USA Faces Poland in February

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From the USTA : WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., October 20, 2015 – The USTA announced that the Holua Tennis Center at Holua Resort at Mauna Loa Village in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, has been selected as the site for the 2016 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round between the United States and Poland, February 6-7.  Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport with approximately 100 nations taking part each year.

 

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 6, with two singles matches. It is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, February 7. Matches will be played on an outdoor hard court.  U.S. Fed Cup Team Captain Mary Joe Fernandez will select the four players to represent the United States no later than ten days prior to the event. Poland is likely to be led by Agnieszka Radwanska, currently ranked No. 6 in the world.

 

This is the first time that Hawaii will host Fed Cup, becoming the 16th state to host this prestigious competition. Hawaii hosted Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, in Kohala Coast at the Mauna Lani Racquet Club in the 1992 World Group First Round, where the U.S. team of Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras swept Argentina, 5-0. Hawaii also hosts a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Challenger in mid-January in Maui and will be joined by a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event that same week in Maui in 2016.

 

“We are thrilled to bring Fed Cup to Hawaii, as the USTA continues to grow the game of tennis in communities nationwide,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President. “Kailua Kona will create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere for Fed Cup and is a perfect location for our players. We look forward to Hawaii fans filling the stands and coming out to cheer Team USA to victory.”

 

The winner of this match advances to the World Group Playoff, held April 16-17, to compete for a spot in the 2017 World Group. The losing nation will play in the World Group II Playoff in April to remain in World Group II in 2017. The U.S. will compete in World Group II in 2016 for just the third time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995. (The U.S. also competed in the World Group II in 2012 and 2015; it has competed in the World Group all other years.)

 

The United States holds a 3-0 record over Poland in Fed Cup. The U.S. last faced Poland in the 1990 World Group First Round in Atlanta, sweeping the tie, 3-0. The U.S., who also faced Poland in 1974 and 1980, has never lost a point in Fed Cup to Poland. This will be the United States’ first home tie since 2014 in St. Louis, as the team competed on the road against Argentina and Italy this year.

 

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, December 11. The USTA has partnered with the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section and the Hawaii Tourism Authority to bring this event to Kailua Kona, while the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay will be the host hotel.

 

“We are all excited about the opportunity to host the Fed Cup here in Hawaii,” said Ron Romano, USTA Hawaii Pacific Executive Director. “We look forward to extending our Aloha Spirit to the players and everyone involved so they have a memorable experience.”

 

“We are honored that Hawai‘i was selected to serve as the host site for the Fed Cup,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Tennis is a globally popular sport and hosting this prestigious international event will elevate awareness of Hawaii as a premier sporting destination. We look forward to welcoming and sharing our Aloha spirit with players, fans and their families.”

 

The site selection is subject to final approval by the International Tennis Federation. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group II First Round.

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Jack Sock Clinches Spot in the 2016 Davis Cup World Group for USA

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(September 20, 2015) U.S. rookie Jack Sock clinched the decisive tie in the Davis Cup World Group playoff win over Uzbekistan with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Denis Istomin on Sunday.

“To get two wins and play solid matches for me gives me a lot of confidence, especially after New York and having to pull out and retire there,” said the world No. 29 Sock. “It was a low point and that was my favorite tournament of the year. It’s tough to go out that way. This will give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”

 

“Obviously going in, I knew he may be a little tired Sock said of his match against of his match against No. 62 Istomin. “He had a long match with Stevie on Friday. He played some great tennis. I was able to come in, execute, and get it done in four sets. But I am most happy about being able to represent the USA and help out as much as I can. Clinching today feels good. I just tried to stick to what I do best and I was able to come through.”

 

“For a rookie to win two singles points in his debut is a very, very good effort,” US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier said. “It was a great effort by all the guys. Obviously, Jack stepped up on Friday when we needed it most. We were down 1-0 and he came out and played some solid tennis and really throttled Dustov. Today, we knew it would be a tougher match-up. Closing out a tie is never easy, even for a veteran. For Jack to come through in his debut was very impressive.”

 

With Sock’s second win this weekend, the U.S. clinches a spot in the World Group for 2016.

“One of the challenges here was bringing a team with very little experience,” Courier said. “One of the great things as we come out of this tie now is that these guys have had a taste of Davis Cup. We have more options at our disposal, which is important for the U.S. team. We need to have as many options for surfaces as we will face. I think we are at a better spot at the end of this year than we probably were at the end of last year.”

 

The 2016 Davis Cup Draw will be held in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday, September 23, at 19:00 local time (6:00 p.m. ET). The seeds will be announced on Monday, September 21, and based on the new ITF Davis Cup Nations Rankings as of September 21. The draw will be live streamed on www.daviscup.com.

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Davis Cup: US Takes 2-1 Lead Over Uzbekistan

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(September 19, 2015) Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, who were both making their Davis Cup doubles debuts, needed just one hour and 33 minutes to defeat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in Saturday’s doubles match. Querrey and Johnson are coming off a successful summer, reaching the men’s doubles semifinals at the US Open, while Querrey also reached the mixed doubles final at the US Open with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Istomin and Dustov are now 8-9 in Davis Cup doubles together.

 

“They were sharp from the beginning and we were rock solid overall,” said US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. ”They put a lot of pressure on their serve, particularly Dustov’s. He had a hard time holding serve today because our guys were just returning really well and controlling play.

 

It has been great run for them,” Courier said of the doubles team. “They played a lot of doubles this season, but they have found their best success here recently. Today is a byproduct of the confidence they gained at the US Open. There’s no doubt about that. Winning just leads to more winning. This was a good set-up for them. There is a lot of time for them to run around and hit forehands on this surface. It was a good situation for them to make their Davis Cup debut, that’s for sure.”

The U.S. Davis Cup Team is 36-2 when leading 2-1 after Saturday. It is 27-11 in the third singles match.

Sunday’s matches are scheduled to feature each country’s top player—world No. 29 Jack Sock vs. world No. 62 Denis Istomin, followed by world No. 47 Steve Johnson vs. world No. 158 Farrukh Dustov. With the U.S. leading, 2-1, Sock could clinch the tie with a victory over Istomin in Sunday’s first singles match. In that case, if Sock wins in three sets, the dead fifth rubber between Johnson and Dustov will be played best of three sets. Should Sock win in four or five sets, the dead fifth rubber likely will not be played.

 

Sock and Istomin have never met on the ATP World Tour. Sock won his singles match on Friday in his Davis Cup debut, becoming the first U.S. player to win a live singles match in their debut since Robby Ginepri in 2004 against Austria. Johnson will be looking for his first Davis Cup singles win and playing in his third match for the U.S. in this tie. Johnson and Dustov have also never met on the ATP World Tour.

 

 

“Confidence is one thing, overconfidence is another,” Courier said of the matches on Sunday. “We have to win a match tomorrow one way or another. Obviously we prefer to be 2-1 then 1-2. Jack has a big match tomorrow. He has a huge match against Istomin, who I am sure took some confidence from his win yesterday and is an experienced player. Jack is going against a guy who has been in this situation quite a lot. We can’t take anything for granted. We have to come ready to play. We have to be ready for a fifth match and to go all day and get the job done one way or another.”

 

 

The winner of this tie qualifies for the 2016 Davis Cup World Group and is eligible to compete for the Davis Cup title next year. The losing nation will compete in its respective Zone Group I competition in 2016.

 

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Jack Sock Victory Levels Davis Cup Tie Against Uzbekistan at 1-1

USDavisCup

(September 18, 2015) Making his debut as a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, Jack Sock, ranked 29th in the world, defeated No. 158 Farrukh Dustov, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to level their Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan at 1-1 in the World Group Playoff.

 

Sock beat Dustov in just under two hours in Tashkent. This was Dustov’s 24th Davis Cup tie and he now holds a 10-18 singles record in Davis Cup play.

 

“It felt great,” Sock said in regard to leveling the tie and playing Davis Cup. “It has been a big goal of mine. To come here and represent the team has always been a dream of mine growing up, watching Roddick and Blake and all of those guys play, hearing all the great stories about it, being a practice partner. It’s an unreal experience. Anytime I can rep the USA is always a good time.”

 

“It actually gave me more motivation. It didn’t make me more nervous. I knew I had to buckle down and try and try and get us a win. I was able to do it, thankfully in three sets—get in and get out.”

 

In the opening singles rubber, another U.S. rookie Steve Johnson made his debut, but with the opposite result. Top Uzbek player, No. 62 Denis Istomin defeated Johnson 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-5 in a back-and-forth match which lasted three hours and 33 minutes.

 

Istomin rallied for the win after first serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set and after Johnson also served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. Both players were two points from victory prior to Istomin breaking serve in the 12th game of the final set to close out the match. Johnson and Istomin had never met on the ATP World Tour prior to this tie. Istomin is now 27-10 in Davis Cup singles play.

 

“It was a tricky day with our two players making their debuts in singles and Jack playing impressively and Steve fighting exceptionally hard,” noted U. S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier.

 

“It could have gone Uzbekistan’s way in the fourth set or it could have gone the USA’s way in the fifth,” Courier said about the Johnson-Istomin match. “There were a lot of twists and turns in that match. Credit obviously goes to Denis and his captain for sticking in there when he could have easily put the flippers on and gone away.”

 

Johnson said: “This one stings. I‘m not going to lie. It’s a tough lesson to learn. I left it all out there on the court….I don’t think I did anything wrong and I was lucky to get into a fifth set. It’s a tough lesson to learn but credit to him, he played well in the end. He played well at the end to break back a couple of times (in the fifth set) and sometimes you have to say ‘Too good.’”

 

“That’s the funny thing about tennis – an hour before I was 5-4, 30-0, he was up 6-5, 30-0. I found a way to get back. That’s tennis. It comes down to a matter of points here or there. It’s unfortunate that I was at the losing end of that.”

 

As the U.S. Davis Cup Team moves into the weekend, it is 25-11 when tied 1-1 after the first day of play.

 

Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, both making their Davis Cup doubles debuts, are scheduled to take on Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov in Saturday’s doubles match. Querrey and Johnson reached the men’s doubles semifinals at the US Open this year, upsetting the world No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan in the first round. Querrey also reached the mixed doubles final at the US Open with Bethanie Mattek-Sands this year. Querrey and Johnson played together in doubles 11 times this year, including at each of the Grand Slam events. Querrey is currently ranked No. 46 in the world in doubles, while Johnson is ranked No. 67.

 

Istomin and Dustov have played doubles together in Davis Cup 16 times, holding an 8-8 record, but have never played together on the ATP World Tour. Istomin is currently ranked No. 103 in the world in doubles, while Dustov is ranked No. 633. Istomin holds an 11-12 Davis Cup record in doubles, while Dustov is 8-8.

 

“There is no doubt we’d like to win the doubles,” Courier said. “We certainly don’t feel like if we lose the doubles we are out of it by any means. We like our guys on Sunday, as well. We know we are going to have to play some hot matches on Sunday no matter what. We will be ready to go. Our doubles guys are coming in razor sharp from New York, feeling good and hopefully Steve will wake up feeling good.”

 

“Sam and I have played well the last couple of weeks,“ Johnson said. “We know how we are going to play and we know how we play best. It’s going to be fun to go out there with Sam and compete. That’s why you compete in these events to try and get a win for your country.”

 

 

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USA Set To Face Uzbekistan in Davis Cup World Group Playoff

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(September 17, 2015) The United States will face off against Uzbekistan for the first time ever in the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff. The best-of-five match series will be played on an outdoor red clay court at the Olympic Tennis School in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

 

Friday’s singles play will first feature world No. 47 Steve Johnson against world No. 62 Denis Istomin. Johnson will be making his Davis Cup debut, while Istomin will be competing in his 24th Davis Cup tie (he holds a 26-10 singles record in Davis Cup competition). Johnson and Istomin have never met on the ATP World Tour.

“I’m excited,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a lot experience watching the Davis Cup a couple of times as a practice partner. Growing up as a kid, watching it on TV, I’ve always wanted to be on the team. I’m excited to go out there on Friday against Denis. He’s a great player and I’m excited to get out there and try to get a win.

“It’s something that we have to get used to,” Johnson said about playing the tie on a clay court. “I was kind of mentally unprepared to play on the clay again after the French. It’s not my game style. I’m excited to get back out there and play Denis. I’ve never played him before so it will be a fun experience to play someone new.”

“Steve is a great player, but of course Davis Cup is different than other tournaments,” Istomin said. “It will be a tough match for us. For Uzbekistan, this is a match for the history. For us, it will be a big opportunity and big chance.”

Defeating team USA will be a big ask for the Uzbeks. It would take Istomin to win all three of his rubbers for them to beat the US. “I’m ready for it,” he said. “Against, the USA, it will be really, really tough. It is a small chance for us. It will be difficult for us. I hope I have energy to play in my two singles and the doubles. It will be the most successful tie for us if we passed the USA and we go to the World Group for the first time. It will be a big for the country and the young players as well. It would be amazing.”

In the second match on Friday, world No. 29 Jack Sock and world No. 158 Farrukh Dustov will face off. Sock is also making his Davis Cup debut, while Dustov has played in 23 Davis Cup ties and holds a 10-17 singles record. Sock and Dustov have never met on the ATP World Tour, but played each other last year at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger on clay in Savannah, Ga., with Sock winning in three sets.

“I feel good,” Sock said about making his debut for the US Davis Cup team. “Obviously this was a big goal of mine to play Davis Cup. I love the team atmospheres. I always love representing my country any way that I can. (I’m an) All American guy from the Midwest – there’s no better feeling that putting on the red, white and blue and playing for your country. The debut here in Tashkent will hopefully be a good one for us. Hopefully I will play well and contribute to the team. I’m looking to play some good tennis. Hopefully we can get a win.”

Sock responded to questions about his health  which forced him to retire from a match at the US Open due to the heat. “That was very unfortunate,” he said. “The US Open is my favorite tournament of the year, my favorite two weeks of the year. It was never easy to go out there and playing in front of the home crowd and go out like that, especially when I was in a good position and playing well. I tried to put it behind me the best I can and I’m doing things I need to do off the court and with doctors and my team to get that situation under control. I think I will be okay here. I love the clay and I feel like if I was able to go four sets with Rafa (Nadal) in Paris, I think I can come out here and be able to put in what I need to physically out here.”

The United States Davis Cup Team will be playing in Asia for just the sixth time and holds a 5-0 record in the country. The U.S. fell to Great Britain, 3-2, in the World Group First Round in March in Glasgow, Scotland. The U.S. is 77-46 when playing on the road.

 

Uzbekistan has never competed in the World Group, while the U.S. is 7-1 in World Group Playoffs. Uzbekistan has reached the World Group Playoff on eight occasions, in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, and also between 1998 and 2001. The U.S. is 7-1 in World Group Playoffs, with its only loss coming in 1987 to West Germany.

 

The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles and owns the longest uninterrupted run in the World Group, dating back to 1989. The U.S. holds a 214-69 all-time Davis Cup record and has a winning record against 35 of the 39 countries faced and a level record with one country. The U.S. is undefeated versus 21 countries and holds an active winning streak against 34 nations. Founded in 1900, Davis Cup is the world’s largest annual international men’s team competition with 126 nations entered in 2015.

 

The winner of this tie qualifies for the 2016 Davis Cup World Group and is eligible to compete for the Davis Cup title next year. The losing nation will compete in its respective Zone Group I competition in 2016.

Order of play

DAY/LOCAL MATCH TIME                  EVENT                    DETAILS/PAIRING

Friday, 10:00 a.m.                                   Singles A:                Steve Johnson (USA) vs. Denis Istomin (UZB)

                                  Singles B:                Jack Sock (USA) vs. Farrukh Dustov (UZB)

Saturday, 12:00 p.m.                               Doubles:                  Sam Querrey/Steve Johnson (USA)

                                                                  vs. Denis Istomin/Farrukh Dustov (UZB)

Sunday, 10:00 a.m.                                 Singles C:  Jack Sock (USA) vs. Denis Istomin (UZB)

                                  Singles D:                Steve Johnson (USA) vs. Farrukh Dustov (UZB)

The tie will air on Tennis Channel in the United States.

Tennis Channel to Air Davis Cup Semifinals and USA-Uzbekistan Tie

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US Falls to Italy in Fed Cup World Group Play-off

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

(April 19, 2015) Italy has now won five straight Fed cup ties against the United States with their 3-2 win on Sunday in the World Group playoff in Brindisi, Italy.

No. 1 Serena Williams had to fight her way back against Sara Errani to take the first match of the day 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead over Italy.

“Today has been a big eye opener,” Williams said. “I need to go home and train.  I am totally not ready for clay court season as I thought I was.  This was a great match for me, even if I had lost, I think it would have been a wonderful match.  That is one good thing about playing Fed Cup and things like this it gives you the practice that you normally would not get.”

 

In the second match, hometown girl Flavia Pennetta demolished Christina McHale 6-1, 6-1 to even up the tie at 2-2.

The final rubber of the tie which was the doubles, saw Williams lost her first match of her Fed Cup career when she paired with Alison Riske and fell to Pennetta and Errani 6-0, 6-3 which sealed the tie for Italy.

Williams is now 13-0 in Singles and 3-1 in doubles in Fed Cup competition.

On playing against Pennetta and Errani in doubles, Williams said: “They are a very solid team and obviously, they have both been No. 1 in doubles.  I have been No. 1, so I felt like I had the opportunity to take some chances and do the best I can.  They were the better team today and ultimately, they got the win, which they deserved since they played better.”

Italy will return to the World Group and can compete for the Fed Cup trophy in 2016 while the U.S. will fall to World Group II.

Asked about the future of the U. S. Fed Cup team, Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said: “I think it is a big challenge.  We have to work harder.  We came close today and just keep plugging away.  The good news is that we have a lot of players in the Top 100 and hopefully, we can get two wins next year and get back into the World Group.”

 

The 2016 Fed Cup draw will be made in June.

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U.S. and Italy End Day One at 1-1 in Fed Cup

Serena+Williams+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+4+smeQToASxcPl

(April 18, 2015) After day one, the United States and Italy are ties at 1-1 in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff being played at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy.

World No. 1 Serena Williams led off the day holding off world No. 36 Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5), 6-2, raising her Fed Cup singles record to 12-0.

“The first set was tough,” said Williams. “I needed to stay calm and make more shots, especially the deeper ones. I think I was hitting them short. So once I started hitting deeper, things worked out.”

“Camila played really well and had a great game plan. That is the player she is. She goes for it a lot. I love to watch her play because she is so feisty on the court. I love her game how she hits so hard.  I know her game really well, so it was not a surprise.”

Sara Errani leveled the tie in the next match, demolishing Lauren Davis, making her singles debut for the United States 6-1, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

“It was a good experience for me,” Davis said.  “I thought I handled myself well.  Sara played very well and was solid and consistent. Given the situation, I think I did okay.”

“Lauren competed really well,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “It is a tough match-up on clay.  Sara has so much experience and defends so well and is also very aggressive.  I thought there were a few games where Lauren had opportunities where it was deuce or break point.  Against a player of that caliber, you have to win those games and then maybe you have a chance.  Sara played really well under pressure and those points very well.”

The winner of the tie this weekend will return to World Group 1 and can compete for the Fed Cup next year while the loser will fall back into World Group II.

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