U.S. FED CUP TEAM TO TAKE ON AUSTRALIA IN 2019 OPENER THIS WEEKEND ON TENNIS CHANNEL
Madison Keys and Australian Open Semifinalist Danielle Collins lead Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar Against Oldest Rivals for First Time on American Soil sine 1976
Tennis Channel, Tennis Channel Plus to Cover all Four Fed Cup First-Round Matchups Live Saturday through Sunday
LOS ANGELES, Feb.7, 2019 -Tennis Channel will provide complete live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Australia in Asheville, North Carolina, this weekend, with telecasts beginning at 1 p.m. ET each day. The United States and Australia, whose rivalry began in the championship of the inaugural Fed Cup in 1963, find themselves competing on American soil for the first time since 1976, when the Americans won 2-1. Madison Keys and Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins lead fellow Americans Sofia Kenin and Nicole Melichar into this weekend’s competition. The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup championships, while Australia sits third on the all-time list with seven.
The battle between 2018 Fed Cup-finalist the United States and Australia will consist of two singles matches Saturday, and two singles matches and a doubles match Sunday. The winner of the first-round matchup will advance to the semifinals in April to play the winner of this weekend’s Germany-Belarus competition.
Prior to the United States-Australia telecast, Tennis Channel and subscription-service Tennis Channel Plus will show the other three Fed Cup first-round competitions. Beginning Saturday, Feb.9, at 7 a.m. ET, viewers can watch Germany play 2017 Fed Cup finalist Belarus in Braunschweig, Germany, and defending Fed Cup champion Czech Republic take on Romania in Ostrava, Czech Republic. A Fed Cup finalist in 2016, France will face Belgium in Liege, Belgium, beginning, Saturday, Feb. 9, at 8:30 a.m. ET. Other stars set to play Fed Cup this weekend include 2016 US Open-finalist Karolina Pliskova, two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova, reigning French Open singles champion Simona Halep, as well as Belarus stars Aryna Sabalenka and former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
Viewers can also catch first-round Fed Cup matches on demand on Tennis Channel Plus (complete weekend schedule below). Two Hall of Famers will be in the booth for Tennis Channel during U.S. Fed Cup coverage this weekend, both of whom contributed to U.S. Fed Cup championships during their playing careers. Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) won titles with the American squad from 1978 to 1980, while Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) also claimed three Fed Cups, in 1996, 1999 and 2000. Former U.S. Davis Cup player Leif Shiras (@LShirock) will announce the matches.
Tennis Channel’s live Fed Cup coverage is as follows (all times ET):
Saturday, Feb. 9:
7 a.m. -Singles #1 Germany v. Belarus (followed by Singles #2) / Singles #1 Czech Republic v. Romania (followed by Singles #2)
8:30 a.m. -Singles #1 Belgium v. France (followed by Singles #2)
1 p.m. – Singles #1 USA v. Australia (followed by Singles #2)
Sunday, Feb. 10:
5 a.m. -Singles #3 Germany v. Belarus (followed by Singles #4 and Doubles)
7 a.m. – Singles #3 Czech Republic v. Romania (followed by Singles #4 and Doubles)
7:30 a.m. – Singles #3 Belgium v. France (followed by Singles #4 and Doubles)
1 p.m. -Singles #3 USA v. Australia (followed by Singles #4 and Doubles)
The United States and Australia have met 14 times in Fed Cup play, with the United States holding a 9-5 advantage. The two countries’ rivalry began in 1963 with the first Fed Cup competition at Queen’s Club, London, where the United States defeated Australia 2-1 in the final. The most recent meeting between the two nations was in Brisbane, Australia, in 2016, won by the Americans. However, prior to 2016, the United States had not faced Australia since its 2-1 victory in the 1985 semifinals in Nagoya, Japan. The United States won its record 18th title in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus.
The U.S. Fed Cup team is captained by retired American tennis star Kathy Rinaldi who, in her 2017 debut, lead the Americans to their first Fed Cup title since 2000. Madison Keys, who was a US Open finalist in 2017, advanced to the semifinals at last year’s US Open before falling to the tournament’s eventual singles champion, Naomi Osaka. Collins enters this weekend’s match after reaching her first major semifinal at January’s Australian Open and achieving one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when she beat three-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber on her way to the quarterfinals. Last month, Kenin earned her first WTA doubles title alongside 2014 Wimbledon-finalist Eugenie Bouchard at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, and won her first WTA singles title at the Hobart International in Australia. Melichar partnered with Austrian Alexander Peya at last year’s Wimbledon to win her first major mixed-doubles title, defeating Jamie Murray and Azarenka.
Australia is captained by Alicia Molikand features Ashleigh Barty, Daria Gavrilova, Priscilla Hon, Kimberly Birrell and Astra Sharma.