It’s Fed Cup time! This weekend sees World Group first round ties, with Melanie Oudin leading Team USA vs. a sadly Mauresmo-free Team France. Neither Williams sister is participating for Team USA this time around. Likewise, Marion Bartoli, Aravane Rezai and Virginie Razzano are all higher ranked than No. 65 Alize Cornet, who heads Team France. I’m saying Team USA is the favorite, even though the tie is in Lievin, France and on indoor red clay.
Team USA: Melanie Oudin, Shenay Perry, Liezel Huber, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Mary Joe Fernandez – captain
Photo via usta.com
Team France: Alize Cornet, Julie Coin, Pauline Parmentier, Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, Nicolas Escude – captain
FED CUP TV SCHEDULE: FRANCE VS. USA:
Saturday, February 6
8:30 am – 12:30 pm: Fed Cup first round France vs. United States – Tennis Channel LIVE
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm: Fed Cup first round France vs. United States – Tennis Channel repeat
Sunday, February 7
8:00 am – 2:00 pm: Fed Cup first round France vs. United States – Tennis Channel LIVE
7:30 pm – 1:30 am: Fed Cup first round France vs. United States – Tennis Channel repeat
Other (non-televised in the States) World Group first round ties include:
The splashiest one is Serbia vs. Russia, in Serbia. Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will participate for team Serbia (JJ is suffering from a back injury but is determined to play so as “not to leave my friends in a lurch”) and the rotating roster of Russians is led by pinch-hitter Svetlana Kuznetsova (kicking Ekaterina Makarova to the curb.) The winning team plays the winners of USA vs. France in the semifinals.
Ukraine vs. Italy, in the Ukraine: Bondarenko sisters vs. defending champs Pennetta and Schiavone
Czech Republic vs. Germany in the Czech Republic.
There are also World Group II matches between Australia and Spain, Poland and Belgium (Radwanskas vs. Wickmayer), Estonia and Argentina, and the Slovak Republic and China. First round World Group II winners compete in World Group Play-off ties with the World Group first round losers. (Only World Group teams compete for the cup.) Zonal ties have already started in Paraguay, Portugal and Malaysia including top players Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Click here for more information.