US Fed Cup Team to Take on Netherlands in First Round Fed Cup Action This Weekend in Asheville, NC
(February 7, 2018) The United States Fed Cup Team comes to Asheville, North Carolina after winning its record 18th Fed Cup title and first title since 2000 in November in Minsk. To kick off their 2018 campaign, the United States will face the Netherlands in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round. The best-of-five match series will take place on an indoor hard court at the U.S. Cellular Center, February 10-11.
Play begins on Saturday, February 10, at 1 p.m. ET with two singles matches. On Sunday, play will continue, starting at 1 p.m. ET, with two reverse singles matches and the doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.
Captain Kathy Rinaldi named former world No. 1 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, fellow former world No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, 2017 US Open semifinalist and world No. 17 CoCo Vandeweghe, and world No. 62 Lauren Davis to the U.S. team.
“Serena’s just coming back. She played an exhibition in January and it’s incredible,” noted Captain Rinaldi. “It’s a quick turnaround after having her first child. She’s very professional and she has a lot of pride for playing for her country. She’ll be ready to go.”
“We’ve had a great team since I’ve been captain,” she added. “Every team has been amazing and now to have Venus and Serena join, it’s an honor to have them. Every team we’ve had has been incredible and we’re looking for another incredible, special week together.”
Netherlands Fed Cup Captain Paul Haarhuis announced that world No. 108 Richel Hogenkamp, No. 124 Arantxa Rus, No. 165 Lesley Kerkhove, and Demi Schuurs, who is ranked No. 32 in doubles, will compete for the Dutch.
“It might be the biggest upset in U.S. tennis history but we’re going for it,” said the Dutch captain. “It’s going to be tough. Obviously it’s a tough challenge we’re facing. It’s not nice that we’re playing here. We were supposed to play at home so that doesn’t help. We’ll see, but it’s going to be a tough weekend.”
“They’re coming in strong. I look at a list of the players they’re bringing and they could have left five at home and could still be picking five new ones and they’d all be in the Top 50. It’s a luxury we don’t have and that makes it a difficult task for us.”
Asked if the Dutch ladies can pull off the upset, Haarhuis said,”I think they all have the ability to do it. But if you look at Serena, how often does she lose to someone that’s not ranked in the Top 10 or Top 20 or outside the Top 100? The odds are not good, but we do believe that it’s possible. We’re the underdog by far, that won’t change if they bring in five new players, we’re still the underdog, but we still have to believe that it can be possible.”
Asheville will be hosting Fed Cup for the first time. The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. competed last in North Carolina in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club, as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.
The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group First Round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997. The U.S. was drawn to play away in the Netherlands for the 2018 World Group First Round when the draw took place in September 2017, but the USTA choose to exercise its right under new Fed Cup regulations to host the first-round tie. Under regulations that came into effect from the International Tennis Federation in August, the finalist nations in the 2017 Fed Cup Final (the U.S. and Belarus) were given the option of hosting their 2018 first-round ties.
The winner of this matchup will advance to the Fed Cup Semifinals, April 21-22.