Fed Cup: No Serena and Venus Williams, no problem as USA aim to cement place in second consecutive final

The United States aim to prove again that they can thrive without Serena and Venus Williams when they tackle France for a place in a second consecutive Fed Cup final this weekend.

AFP April 20, 2018 10:01:45 IST
Fed Cup: No Serena and Venus Williams, no problem as USA aim to cement place in second consecutive final

Paris: The United States aim to prove again that they can thrive without Serena and Venus Williams when they tackle France for a place in a second consecutive Fed Cup final this weekend.

Fed Cup No Serena and Venus Williams no problem as USA aim to cement place in second consecutive final

File image of Serena and Venus Williams. AFP

In 2017, the US won the tournament for the 18th time with a nerve-racking 3-2 victory over Belarus which was only decided in the last doubles rubber when CoCo Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers claimed the winning point.

The Williams sisters did not feature in that final in Minsk but they returned to national colours in February this year in a first-round victory over the Netherlands which set-up this weekend's clash in France.

"I’m very confident that we can make it to another final," Vandeweghe told fedcup.com ahead of the tie on indoor clay at Aix-en-Provence.

"We have a lot of depth in our squad. From the singles players to the doubles, I think we have come together really well."

The American team boast world number nine and US Open champion Sloane Stephens, 13th-ranked Madison Keys, Vandeweghe, who is at 16 in the rankings, and doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

France, two-time Fed Cup champions, will be led by world number 20 Kristina Mladenovic but other team members Pauline Parmentier and Amandine Hesse are a modest 122 and 204 respectively.

Vandeweghe is on a 13-match win streak in the Fed Cup and has not been defeated in three years in the tournament.

"The Fed Cup has been extremely important for me both as a player and a person," said the 26-year-old New Yorker. "It's my number one priority to play for my country."

The US have won 11 of 13 Fed Cup meetings against France. However, the French have won two of the nations’ most recent three meetings.

In the other semi-final, Germany host 10-time champions Czech Republic on clay in Stuttgart.

Germany have only beaten the Czechs once in eight meetings and that was back in 1987 in Vancouver.

Germany feature world number 11 Julia Georges and 12th-ranked Angelique Kerber, a former two-time Grand Slam champion.

However, the Czechs boast similar firepower with world number six Karolina Pliskova and 10th-ranked Petra Kvitova, a double Wimbledon champion, leading the challenge in the singles.

The Czech squad are bidding to reach the final for the sixth time in the last eight years.

Fed Cup semi-finals:

At Stuttgart (indoor clay; Saturday 1000 GMT start; Sunday 0900 GMT))

Germany v Czech Republic

At Aix-en-Provence (indoor clay; Saturday 1200 GMT start; Sunday 1100 GMT)

France v United States

Updated Date:

also read

Vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 test reports must for fans at Roland Garros
Sports

Vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 test reports must for fans at Roland Garros

French tennis federation director-general Amelie Oudea-Castera said potential spectators at the 30 May - 13 June Grand Slam must demonstrate proof that they had a negative PCR or antigen test within 48 hours of attendance, or bear a certificate of vaccination.

Italian Open: Top seed Ashleigh Barty enters third round with staright sets win over Yaroslava Shvedova
Sports

Italian Open: Top seed Ashleigh Barty enters third round with staright sets win over Yaroslava Shvedova

Barty overcame an early break of serve to see off Shvedova, a three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist making her way back after giving birth to twins. 

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Hesitant Rafael Nadal joins chorus of concern about Games
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Hesitant Rafael Nadal joins chorus of concern about Games

"In a normal world I would never consider missing the Olympics. There is no doubt about that," said Nadal. "(But) Under these circumstances, I don't know. Let's see what's going on in the next couple of months."