The “World Cup of Tennis” returns April 19th and 20th, with nation-on-nation match-ups scheduled across the globe. In the World Group, the Czech Republic will host Italy and Australia will host Germany to determine which two nations will battle for the 2014 Fed Cup Title this November.
World Group “Playoff” matches are also scheduled that weekend, featuring the four World Group First Round losers versus February’s World Group II winners:
- United States hosts France
- Canada hosts Slovak Republic
- Spain hosts Poland
- Russia hosts Argentina
“Playoff” winners this April earn spots in the 2015 World Group; losers will be relegated to World Group II play next February.
Here’s the commercial promoting Team USA’s World Group Playoff Tie vs. France in St. Louis. Just like last year, after a First Round loss to Italy, Team USA is fighting simply to stay in the World Group for 2015. A win in St. Louis puts them there…a loss would relegate the Americans to World Group II.
This will be the 13th meeting between France and United States. France’s only previous win came in the 2003 Fed Cup Final. Back in February, Team USA was defeated by Italy (3-1); while France won a thrilling World Group II Tie over Switzerland. Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic clinched the Tie for their country with a 7-5, 6-4 doubles win over Belinda Bencic and Timea Bacsinszky in the final rubber.
It’s “Win or Group II” for Team USA…a rare predicament for the Americans over the years; however, not an unfamiliar one. In 2011, the U.S. got hammered in the World Group First Round by Team Belgium (1-4). In the World Group Playoffs, they couldn’t even win a single rubber over Team Germany (lost 0-5). They started 2012 as part of World Group II in Worcester vs. Team Belarus (Victoria Azarenka was there, but injured and did not play). With an easy win in Massachusetts (5-0), the Americans then shut-out Ukraine (5-0) that April in the World Group Playoffs to earn a spot back in the World Group.
Team USA in 2011
- WG 1st Round: Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Melanie Oudin, Vania King, Liezel Huber (L 1-4 in Belgium)
- WG Playoff: Melanie Oudin, Christina McHale, Vania King and Liezel Huber (L 0-5 in Germany)
Team USA in 2012
- WGII 1st Round: Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Venus Williams and Liezel Huber (W 5-0 over Belarus)
- WG Playoff: Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens and Liezel Huber (W 5-0 in Ukraine)
Someone makes a huge difference when she makes herself available to play for Team USA…