|Serena (left) and Venus Williams|
Story courtesy of: www.usatennisflorida.usta.com
The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber to the U.S. Fed Cup team to face Russia in the semifinals on indoor hardcourt at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala., April 24-25.
The fourth member of the U.S. team will be determined next week, with Fernandez keeping a window open for Venus or Serena Williams.
“Melanie, Liezel and Bethanie are ready to represent the U.S. again and take on a formidable Russian team for the chance to return to the Fed Cup final,” said Fernandez, who last year in her rookie season as captain led the U.S. to the Fed Cup final for the first time since 2003. “We are leaving the fourth spot open in case Venus or Serena is healthy enough to compete. The plan is to give them as much time as possible and we hope to make a decision early next week.”
Russian Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev named on Wednesday his squad in Top 10er Elena Dementieva and world No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, selecting from a Russian line-up riddled with injury. Maria Sharapova (elbow), Dinara Safina (back) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (shoulder) are among the Russians unavailable.
“Too many of our leading players are injured,” Tarpishchev told the AP. “Sharapova, Safina, Kuznetsova are all injured, while Zvonareva and Kleibanova also have health problems.”
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 24 with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 singles player facing the No. 2 singles player from the other nation. The event concludes the next day with “reverse singles,” as the No. 1 player from each country face off followed by the No. 2 singles players meeting. The second day of competition concludes with a doubles match.
Tennis Channel will present daily live coverage beginning at 2 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday.
Both nations posted road victories in the quarterfinals in February. The United States defeated France, 4-1, while Russia won the decisive doubles match to post a 3-2 victory at Serbia.
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