Serena Williams went 4-0 for the U.S. Fed Cup team in 2012.
© Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
Fresh off back-to-back victories in Miami and Charleston, world No. 1 Serena Williams will take her top form to Delray Beach, Fla., to lead the U.S. Fed Cup team against Sweden, April 20-21, in a World Group Play-off held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
Joining Serena are her sister, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, as well as world No. 16 Sloane Stephens and world No. 27 Varvara Lepchenko. The winner of this best-of-five match series will compete in the World Group in 2014, with the loser relegated to World Group II.
This will be the third Fed Cup tie played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, making it the only venue to host a Fed Cup tie on three occasions, and it is the fourth Fed Cup played in Florida. The U.S. has never lost a match in its three previous ties in the Sunshine State, going 15-0 overall behind sweeps of Belgium in both the 2005 and 2007 quarterfinals in Delray Beach and with a victory over Austria in the 1995 quarterfinals in Aventura.
With the 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena leading the way, the U.S. will be the heavy favorite against a Swedish team of world No. 54 Sofia Arvidsson, world No. 65 Johanna Larson, world No. 425 Hilda Melander and world No. 489 Sandra Roma.
"I am really excited about the team that we have for this World Group Play-off," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. "With all four women ranked in the Top 30 and Serena playing as the No. 1 player in the world, we have great talent and depth, which is a perfect combination. We are looking forward to bringing some great tennis to Delray Beach, a city that has a strong history of supporting Fed Cup, and we know we can count on the crowd to give us that home-court edge."
Serena is a perfect 11-0 in her Fed Cup career, including winning all four of her singles matches for the U.S. against Belarus and Ukraine in 2012. Venus also brings a stellar Fed Cup record to the competition, at 18-4 overall.
The official lineup for the singles and doubles will be determined at the draw ceremony on Friday, April 19, with Fernandez having multiple options for each spot.
Stephens, a 2013 Australian Open semifinalist, made her Fed Cup debut in 2013 against Ukraine in doubles but has not competed in singles in Fed Cup competition. Lepchenko made her U.S. Fed Cup team debut as the No. 1 singles player for the U.S. in its first-round loss to Italy in February, defeating both world No. 8 Sara Errani and world No. 16 Roberta Vinci in singles; she also teamed with Liezel Huber in the deciding doubles rubber, where they fell to Errani and Vinci.
Tickets can be purchased as two-day packages or as individual sessions. Prices for the two-day packages are $70 and $120. Prices for individual sessions are $40 and $65. Additional ticket fees apply. Tickets can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com
or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782). All matches will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel.