SLOANE STEPHENS TO LEAD U.S. TEAM AGAINST FRANCE IN FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP PLAYOFF IN ST. LOUIS, APRIL 19-20

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SLOANE STEPHENS TO LEAD U.S. TEAM AGAINST FRANCE IN FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP PLAYOFF IN ST. LOUIS, APRIL 19-20

epa04124306 Sloane Stephens from USA in action against Flavia Pennetta from Italy at the BNP Paribas Open tennis in Indian Wells, California, USA, 13 March 2014. EPA/MICHAEL NELSON  |

SLOANE STEPHENS TO LEAD U.S. TEAM AGAINST FRANCE

IN FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS WORLD GROUP PLAYOFF

IN ST. LOUIS, APRIL 19-20

 

Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko, and Christina McHale also named to team

 

The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez today announced that world No. 18 and 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens, No. 42 Madison Keys, No. 49 Varvara Lepchenko and No. 57 Christina McHale will represent the United States in the 2014 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff against France. The best-of-five match series will be played at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University, April 19-20. The winner will advance to the 2015 World Group and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year. The loser will be relegated to World Group II.

 

French Captain Amelie Mauresmo announced that France’s team will consist of world No. 22 Alize Cornet, No. 74 Caroline Garcia, No. 76 Virginie Razzano and No. 87 Kristina Mladenovic.

 

“We have a great combination of experience and talent competing in this Fed Cup tie against France,” said Fernandez. “We are excited to be led by Sloane, a strong Top 20 competitor, as well as promising young players in Madison and Christina, who have both performed well this year and have Fed Cup experience. Varvara always comes up big in Fed Cup as well and loves competing for her country. I have full confidence in this team to play great tennis in front of a patriotic crowd in St. Louis and keep the U.S. in contention for the Fed Cup title in 2015.”

 

Matches begin on Saturday, April 19, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off then the No. 2 players meet, followed by a doubles match. Play on Saturday begins at 3:30 p.m. CT and play on Sunday begins at 1:00 p.m. CT. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

 

Single-day tickets are still available. Prices for single-day tickets range from $40-95 per day. Additional ticket fees apply. Tickets can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com or www.usta.com/fedcup, by calling 888-334-USTA (8782), or by visiting the Chaifetz Arena Box Office.

 

Missouri is hosting Fed Cup for the second time. The state previously hosted the 2002 World Group Playoff in Springfield at the Cooper Tennis Complex, where the U.S. swept Israel, 5-0. Dwight Davis, who in 1900 founded Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent to Fed Cup, was born in St. Louis in 1879. The U.S. is 37-5 all-time in Fed Cup ties played at home and holds an overall 143-34 record.

 

Stephens, 21, is currently ranked No. 18 in the world. She advanced to the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, her career-best Grand Slam result, defeating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. At 19 years, 10 months, 3 days old, Stephens was the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal since Williams reached the 2000 Wimbledon semifinals at 18 years, 9 months, 8 days old. Also in 2013, Stephens reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open and French Open. She is the daughter of the late New England Patriots running back John Stephens. Stephens made her Fed Cup debut in the 2012 World Group Playoff in Ukraine, winning in doubles with Liezel Huber, and competed in singles in the 2013 World Group Playoff against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla., losing in three sets to Sofia Arvidsson.

 

World No. 42 Keys, 19, is named to her second consecutive Fed Cup team after making her Fed Cup debut in Cleveland in this year’s World Group Quarterfinal, where Keys lost in her singles debut and won in doubles with Lauren Davis. Keys broke into the Top 40 in the world in 2013 after reaching the third round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In 2011, she became the youngest player to win a main draw match at the US Open since Nicole Vaidisova in 2005. And in 2009, she became the youngest player (14 years, 48 days) since Martina Hingis in 1994 to win a WTA match. This year, Keys qualified for and reached the semifinals of the Australian Open tune-up event in Sydney, Australia, and she advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. She also reached the third round of the WTA event in Miami. Keys trains at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

 

Lepchenko, 27, is currently ranked No. 49 in the world and made her Fed Cup debut in the 2013 World Group First Round in Rimini, Italy, where she posted singles victories over then-world No. 8 Sara Errani and then-world No. 16 Roberta Vinci. Lepchenko was also named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for last year’s World Group Play-off against Sweden in Delray Beach, Fla. Lepchenko peaked at a career-high No. 19 in October 2012 and reached the fourth round of the 2012 French Open—her best result at a Grand Slam event—which qualified her for the U.S. Olympic team. This year, Lepchenko upset former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic en route to the fourth round of the WTA event in Miami and remains consistently ranked in the Top 50. A native of Uzbekistan, Lepchenko has been living in the U.S. since 2001 after receiving political asylum, and she officially changed her nationality in 2007 to play for the U.S. She became an official U.S. citizen in September 2011.

 

World No. 57 McHale, 21, made her debut for the U.S. Fed Cup team in the 2010 quarterfinals and has a 4-4 record in Fed Cup play (all singles). She competed in February’s World Group Quarterfinal in Cleveland. McHale reached her first-ever WTA singles final this year in Acapulco, Mexico, with wins over both Mladenovic and Garcia. McHale was the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic tennis team and reached the third round of three Grand Slam events that year. In 2011, she established herself as the second-highest-ranked American behind Serena Williams and became the youngest player in the WTA Top 50 after defeating then-world No. 9 Marion Bartoli en route to the third round of the US Open. She also won the bronze medal in singles and the silver in doubles at the 2011 Pan Am Games. As a junior player, she swept the singles and doubles titles at the 2009 USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn wild cards into the US Open. Like Keys, McHale trains with the USTA Player Development program in Boca Raton.

 

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000. Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition (96 countries have entered for 2014). For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/fedcup or www.fedcup.com. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group Playoff. Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.

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