| By USTA Eastern Section

The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez has announced that 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and world number one-ranked doubles player Liezel Huber will represent the United States in the 2010 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Semifinal against Russia on an indoor hard court 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.

“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 [Williams] 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.”

Fed Cup rules require nations to submit an initial roster of three or four players no less than 10 days prior to the start of play. Captains can change one or two players on the final roster that is submitted up to one hour before the draw which is held the day before matches begin.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, April 24 with two singles matches featuring each country’s number one singles player facing the number two singles player from the other nation. The event concludes the next day with “reverse singles,” as the number one player from each country face off followed by the number two singles players meeting. The second day of competition concludes with a doubles match.

The Tennis Channel will present daily live coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT on Saturday and Sunday.

Melanie Oudin, 18, will be making her fifth consecutive appearance for the U.S. Fed Cup team. She earned two singles victories against France to help lead the U.S. to a 4-1 victory in the 2010 quarterfinal. Oudin shot up the rankings in 2009 after a breakthrough year, and is currently ranked a career-high number 36 in the world. Last year, she defeated former world number one Jelena Jankovic en route to a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, then made headlines when she upset 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Dementieva and former world number one-ranked Maria Sharapova in three-set matches to become the youngest American quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open since 1999. This year, Oudin reached the semifinals of the Paris Open and the quarterfinals in both Memphis and Ponte Vedra Beach.

 

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 25, will make her third appearance for the U.S. Fed Cup team. She recorded a singles and doubles victory in the 2010 quarterfinal versus France after teaming with Liezel Huber to win the doubles rubber and clinch the 2009 semifinal tie against the Czech Republic. Mattek-Sands reached a career-high ranking of No. 37 last March, and she won three Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles in 2009. Mattek-Sands currently is ranked No. 130 in the world in singles and No. 12 in doubles.

 

 

 

Liezel Huber, 33, became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals there). Huber owns four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles with Cara Black and the 2009 French Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. She and Black finished the 2009 season tied for No. 1 in the world doubles rankings for the third consecutive year. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team and posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties–all on red clay. She has won four of her five matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching matches with partner Julie Ditty against Argentina in the 2009 quarterfinal and with Bethanie Mattek-Sands against the Czech Republic to send the U.S. to the 2009 Fed Cup Final.

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.

The U.S. is 4-3 all-time against Russia in Fed Cup competition, but has lost the last three meetings between the two nations, most recently in the 2008 semifinal in Moscow. The two countries last squared off on American soil in the 2007 semifinal in Stowe, Vt., with Russians Nadia Petrova and Elena Vesnina defeating Venus Williams and Lisa Raymond 7-5, 7-6(1), in the fifth and decisive doubles match to clinch a 3-2 victory.

For more information, visit www.usta.com/fedcup.

USTA Eastern Section

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