Christina McHale played No. 2 singles for the U.S. vs. Italy and was also on the U.S. team for its 4-1 win over France in 2010.
© David Maxwell
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
In the 50-year history of Fed Cup, the U.S. has played in the elite World Group all but once. To maintain that sterling record, the U.S. will need to defeat France in a World Group Play-off April 19-20.
The U.S. will host the tie at a site to be determined.
The U.S.-France winner earns a spot in the 2015 World Group with a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title, while the loser will be relegated to World Group II. The U.S.’s only experience in World Group II came in 2012, when it swept Belarus to advance to the World Group Play-off and then blanked Ukraine to return to the World Group in 2013.
In the 2014 World Group First Round, held Feb. 8-9, Italy defeated the U.S., 3-1, in Cleveland to send the Americans to a World Group Play-off for the second year in a row. (In 2013, the U.S. defeated Sweden in the Play-off to earn a spot in the 2014 World Group.) France, meantime, defeated Switzerland, 3-2, in the World Group II first round to earn a chance to regain a spot in the World Group.
The U.S. and France last met in 2010, in the first round on indoor clay in Lievin, France, which was a 4-1 victory for the U.S. Overall, the U.S. leads France, 11-1, in Fed Cup play, with its only loss coming in the 2003 Fed Cup final.
Players for this tie will be announced no later than 10 days prior to the start of competition. Against Italy, U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez fielded a young team of rising stars Madison Keys, Christina McHale, Alison Riske and Lauren Davis. The tie marked the Fed Cup debut for all but McHale. The top three singles players for the U.S. – world No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 18 Sloane Stephens and No. 31 Jamie Hampton – were all unable to compete due to injury.
Alize Cornet is the top singles player for France, at No. 25, with 20-year-old up-and-comers Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, for the French team.