| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

In their first match-up ever in Fed Cup history, the United States swept Ukraine 5-0 in the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Playoffs, on an outdoor red clay court at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkiv, Ukraine. This marks the U.S. team’s fourth appearance in a World Group Playoff, and the first ever win on the road in the playoffs. The team now has a 66-18 record on clay courts in Fed Cup play. Since the Fed Cup home-away format was instituted in 1995, the U.S. is now 8-10 when playing away (27-14 overall). The team now holds an overall 142-32 Fed Cup record.

After leading 2-0 after Day One, Serena Williams opened play Sunday and clinched the tie with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko. With the win, Serena is now 8-0 in her Fed Cup singles career in live rubbers. In the dead rubber singles match, Christina McHale won her fourth consecutive live rubber match in Fed Cup defeating Elina Svitolina, 7-5, 6-3.

"I am really happy with how this week went practice-wise and how the matches went," said McHale. "We have a lot of fun, the whole team does, the whole time. It has been a great week [in Ukraine]."

In doubles play, Liezel Huber improved her Fed Cup career doubles record to 8-2 with the U.S., teaming up with Sloane Stephens to defeat Lyudmyla Kichenok & Nadiya Kichenok, 6-4, 6-1. The doubles match also marks the first tie Stephens has ever played in Fed Cup. She served as a practice partner during the 2012 World Group II First Round against Belarus, and was a non-playing team member during the 2010 World Group Semifinal against Russia. Stephens is now the 12th youngest player to make her Fed Cup debut for the U.S team at 19 years and one month.

As captain of the U.S. Fed Cup Team, Mary Joe Fernandez led her team to two consecutive 5-0 wins in 2012 (defeated Belarus in February in Worcester, Mass. in the World Group II First Round) to get back into the World Group. She now has a 6-4 record after taking over as captain in 2009.

“It is awesome ... we are so excited," said Fernandez. "That was our goal this year. It was our first time out of the World Group and we couldn’t wait to get back. We did a great job of really focusing and getting the job done so we are thrilled to be back.”

Serena said, "It is good to have Mary Joe out there. I told her at the beginning of the week, whatever you want to tell me, tell me. I am all ears, I am all open and I am open to any suggestions. I am out there to learn. I feel like I am a kid learning. I haven’t accomplished everything. It is good to have a coach and different eyes out there."


Day/Local Match Pairings
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Singles A: Christina McHale (USA) def. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

Singles B: Serena Williams (USA) def. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-2, 6-1

Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Singles C: Serena Williams (USA) def. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-2

Singles D: Christina McHale (USA) def. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5. 6-3

Doubles: Liezel Huber and Sloane Stephens (USA) def. Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiya Kichenok (UKR) 6-4, 6-1