Posts Tagged ‘2009 Fed Cup


Italy wins the 2009 Fed Cup!

ITALY TENNIS FED CUPItaly is the Fed Cup champion nation for 2009. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed this years championship. As expected they easily defeated the young American team on their home ground, on the surface of their choice before throngs of cheering Italian fans.

The question will be raised as to whether the Williams sisters would have made a difference to the outcome, and would their inclusion on the American team given the USA a victory. We will never know the answer. In my opinion they would have also been defeated by the experienced Italians, but it might have been closer.

Without the Williams sister, and they can’t last forever, American women’s tennis is at an all time low, and tennis fans must get used to the idea that the USA cannot win as they used to do in the ‘good old days’.

Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch and Liezel Huber deserved to be in the final, they were the ones who were responsible for the team reaching the final, and the experience they gained in Italy was invaluable. They have formed a camaraderie that can only benefit them in the future, and make them into better players and competitors. Representing their country in a hostile environment, with only a handful of friendly faces in the crowd, on a cold wet weekend far away from home is an experience they will learn from and never forget.

Reaching the final, being the second best nation is not all bad! These young women deserve to be recognized for their gutsy effort and should be given a victory parade when they come home, but I can guarantee they won’t receive one!


Mary Joe praying for a miracle to save face for the USA.


It was a cold, wet, hostile atmosphere that greeted the underdog USA Fed Cup team on the first day of competition, and not surprisingly Italy has jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 2009 Fed Cup Final. World No. 11 Flavia Pennetta defeating USA’s No. 2 player Alexa Glatch 6-3 6-1 in just 1 hour 5 minutes, followed by Francesca Schiavone dismissing Melanie Oudin in straight sets 7-6, 6-2.

Pennetta faced little resistance from her 132-ranked opponent, and dispelled any concern for her strapped right ankle en route to victory. The Italian was broken just once in the opening game of the second set, but recuperated to play some sparkling and aggressive tennis, in stark contrast to a lackadaisical looking Glatch who despite strong support from her team bench, mentally couldn’t quite find her way into the match.

Melanie Oudin’s mood was a carbon copy of Glatch’s. Both American players found themselves on the defensive from the opening serve, and played like the underdogs that they are. Unless a minor miracle descends on the team prior to the reverse singles matches, it wil be Arrivederci for the USA.

Oudin is scheduled to begin proceedings tomorrow against Pennetta, needing a victory to keep the USA’s hopes alive.

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The US hopes are riding on Alexa Glatch.

glatchAlexa Glatch holds the key to the success of the USA Fed Cup team when they meet tomorrow on the red clay in Italy. She has proved that she is a big game player, and relishes the pressure of playing against the top players. But more importantly she has shown that she is quite at home on clay. At just over 6′ tall she towers over her two diminutive team mates Oudin and King, and in her play she can serve with the best on the tour. 

She made her Fed Cup debut in April in the semifinals against the Czech Republic. As a rookie, she was dubbed the MVP for almost single handidly keeping the US alive by pulling off upset wins in both of her singles matches against No. 29 Iveta Benesova and No. 48 Petra Kvitova in dominating, straight sets fashion. Her team won the deciding doubles match and the U.S. will have a chance to take home the Fed Cup Championship Trophy for the first time since 2000.

In May, Alexa made her French Open red clay debut by crushing the 14th-seeded Italian clay court specialist Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-1 in the first round. To date this is the biggest win in her career.

Italy’s No. 2 player, Francesca Schiavone, will face U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin in the second singles match Saturday on the clay courts at the Rocco Polimeni club.

Schiavone and the 18-year-old Oudin have also met once before, with Schiavone winning 6-1, 6-1 in Indian Wells, Calif., last year.

Saturday 7 November – 11:00 start (10:00 GMT)

Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v Alexa Glatch (USA)

Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Melanie Oudin (USA)

Sunday 8 November – 11:00 start (10:00 GMT)

Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v Melanie Oudin (USA)

Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Alexa Glatch (USA)

Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA) v Liezel Huber/Vania King (USA)


Italy’s 2009 Fed Cup team.


Italy bids to end a 9-tie losing streak when it takes on USA in the 2009 Final this weekend. The Italians have never defeated the Americans in Fed Cup and have won just 3 rubbers in their 9 previous meetings. In the 1986 quarterfinal in Prague, Italy took a surprise 1-0 lead when Sandra Cecchini handed Chris Evert her first ever Fed Cup singles defeat, ending a 29-match undefeated streak, before USA hit back to win.

Italy is through to its 3rd Fed Cup Final in 4 years and is looking to win its 2nd Fed Cup title, having defeated Belgium to lift the Cup in 2006. It defeated former champion France in the 1st round before surprising defending champion Russia in the semifinals.

USA has gone the distance in both of its ties this year, defeating both Argentina and Czech Republic by winning the deciding doubles rubber. It has reached its first final since 2003 and is bidding to win its 18th title – but first since 2000 – in Reggio Calabria. This is the longest gap between US Fed Cup successes.


USA’s 2009 Fed Cup team.

oudin 2glatch 3king 4huber

Melanie Oudin

Oudin burst onto the world scene at the US Open in September when she reached the quarterfinals, losing to Caroline Wozniacki. However, the 18-year-old had caught the eye of most tennis followers long before.

Oudin enjoyed a successful junior career and began to play her first senior tournaments in 2006. With three $50k victories under her belt, she came through qualifying to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon before making her run to the last eight at Flushing Meadows.

In Fed Cup play, Oudin made her debut against Argentina in this year’s first round. Having lost her opening rubber, she fought back to defeat Betina Jozami in three sets, providing USA with the platform to progress in the decisive doubles match. She was also a non-playing member of the team in the semifinals.

Alexa Glatch

Glatch played her first Fed Cup tie in the semifinals against Czech Republic and made more than an impressive debut. She comfortably defeated Iveta Benesova and Petra Kvitova in her two singles rubbers, dropping just six games.

The 20 year-old from California is currently ranked No. 132 in the world and is USA’s No. 10. She reached her career high ranking of No. 102 in August.

As an individual, Glatch hasn’t enjoyed the best form of late. In fact, she hasn’t reached the second round of a tournament since June at the AEGON Classic in Edgbaston, part of the British grass court season.

Vania King

King was called in to the American team following the withdrawal of Serena Williams, who was competing at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha.

The 20-year-old made her debut against Germany in 2006 and has played in five ties, compiling a win-loss record of 4-5. She is currently ranked No. 78 in the world and has won one career singles title.

King, however, has enjoyed more success on the doubles court. She has seven tournament victories to her name, including wins in Brisbane and New York in 2009, and also finished runner-up in the mixed doubles at this year’s Roland Garros.

Liezel Huber

Huber, a doubles specialist, is the top ranked doubles player in the world. Teaming up with various partners down the years, but with Cara Black of late, she has won 39 career titles including four at Grand Slam events.

Huber began her Fed Cup career representing South Africa in 1998. However, in 2007, she became an American citizen and has now played in USA’s last three ties.

Mary Joe Fernandez, USA’s captain, has described Huber as ‘unquestionably our team leader’. In this year’s Fed Cup campaign, she has won the decisive doubles rubber in both rounds.


Italy are heavy favourites in 2009 Fed Cup final.

pennettaFlavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone will spearhead Italy’s challenge in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final against USA.

The full Italian team, captained by Corrado Barazzutti, will be Pennetta, Schiavone, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani – according to the official nominations received by the ITF today.

In recent months, Pennetta has become the first female Italian player ever to reach the world’s top 10. This came after back-to-back tournament victories in Palermo and Los Angeles. She declined an invitation to the Bali event so she could play in the Fed Cup for her country.

Schiavone has also been playing some of the best tennis of her career having just won a $1m title in Moscow, a week after reaching a final in Osaka.

The 29-year-old is unbeaten in this year’s Fed Cup campaign and defeated Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, the reigning Roland Garros champion, in the semifinals.

Roberta Vinci’s Fed Cup doubles pedigree is second to none in Italy, holding the record for the most number of victories with a win-loss record of 13-0.

Errani, meanwhile, reached a career high world ranking of No. 31 in February. She also finished runner-up in Palermo, losing to Pennetta in the final.

USA has announced that its team will be Vania King, Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch and Liezel Huber. King has come in to the side to replace Serena Williams, the world No. 2.

The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final is being staged outdoors on red clay at the Circolo del Tennis ‘Rocco Polimeni’ in Reggio Calabria, on November 7-8.


Vania King replaces Serena on Fed Cup team.

vania_34214Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Italy and USA, taking place in Reggio Calabria on 7-8 November.

Williams, who has been competing at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, will be replaced by Vania King.

King made her Fed Cup by BNP Paribas debut against Germany in 2006 and has played in five ties, compiling a win-loss record of 4-5. She currently holds world rankings of No. 78 in singles and No. 32 in doubles.

King, 20, has won seven career doubles titles, two of which coming this year in Brisbane and New York. On the singles court, her sole tournament victory came in Bangkok in 2006.

Captained by Mary Joe Fernandez, USA’s team will now be King, Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch and Liezel Huber, the world’s top doubles player.


US Fed Cup team blends new and old.

serena 1oudin 2glatch_200

Serena Williams is back on the U.S. Fed Cup team for the first time since 2007.

Surprise U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin is also on the roster announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association for the Nov. 7-8 final against host Italy.

Williams leads active women with 11 Grand Slam singles titles and is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles matches over her career. Her sister Venus is not on the team.

Top-ranked doubles player Liezel Huber and Alexa Glatch round out the roster.

U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez says she strongly believes her team can win the Fed Cup title, something the country hasn’t done since 2000.

Italy could reach top spot in the ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking for the first time in the country’s history.

If Italy triumphs over USA in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final, being held in Reggio Calabria on 7-8 November, it will over take Russia, the reigning champion and current No. 1.

Italy defeated Russia 4-1 in April’s semifinals, a victory that was inspired by Francesca Schiavone’s superb three sets win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, who clinched the title at Roland Garros just a few weeks later.

On the other hand, if USA is victorious – which would be its 18th title – it will leapfrog Italy into second place, with Russia remaining top.


Serena says she will go to Italy even if she doesn’t play!

italian fed cup teamSerena Williams has announced that, depending on fitness, she ‘definitely’ wants to be in the USA team that will travel to Italy next month for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final.

“I definitely want to get there,” Williams told the assembled media in Beijing. “Again it’s just hard to see how my body will be after Doha.”

The emergence of talented teenager Melanie Oudin alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Alexa Glatch gives the squad a nice balance with doubles specialist Liezel Huber providing the experienced head.

“We have great people like Melanie who I think can really do a job, and Liezel, who’s number one in doubles,” said Williams. “We have a really good team and quite frankly they got there without me but I’d really like to go there in support.”

Williams currently has an unbeaten Fed Cup record having won all seven of the rubbers she has played. Along with her sister Venus, she made her debut for USA against Italy in 1999.

Mary Joe Fernandez, the American captain, will no doubt be hoping that both the Williams sisters are available although USA, even without its top two players, has significant strength in depth.

The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final is taking place in Reggio Calabria on 7th-8th November.


Fernandez is destoying the Fed Cup’s concept.


Melanie Oudin voiced her young opinion regarding the status of American women’s tennis during an ESPN interview after her victory over Elena Dementieva. She reiterated her belief that there was a lack of camaraderie among the US players, and a feeling that some players feel that there are superior to some others. She lent her support to Christina  McHale who she hoped would do well against Maria Sharapova. She just happens to be drawn against the winner in the next round. But she sounded genuine.

She expounded her theory by referring to the Russian women who are openly supportive of their fellow countrymen even though they are competitors. The Russian women are not all buddy buddy friends, but coming from similar backgrounds and similar training schools they have established a degree of respect and admiration for their respective achievements. Their Fed Cup team, the best until 2009, does not always feature their top players, but instead is comprised of those players who played in previous matches and did well. Players are rewarded for consistency, and team spirit is predominant in the team’s composition.

The US women’s team had some camaraderie in their two rounds of play which got them into the final against Italy, maybe enough to win the coveted crown, but this team spirit will be thrown out of the window by Captain Mary Joe Fernandez when she kicks out her best young players and replaces them with the Williams sisters. Both of the sisters refused to play for their country in the earlier rounds, and are now being rewarded with the chance to be heroes, if they win.

This doesn’t sound like a recipe for building team spirit to me, nor is it fair……but then in some people’s minds winning is everything!

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