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V. Williams Headlines Team USA at Fed Cup in Kona

January 27, 2016, 2:30 PM HST
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Holua Tennis and Pickleball Center. Google Earth photo.

Holua Tennis and Pickleball Center. Google Earth photo.

Venus Williams will lead the four-person United States women’s tennis squad in next month’s Fed Cup Presented by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round matchup, held Feb. 6-7 at Holua Tennis Center in Kailua-Kona.

Williams, the sister of top-ranked Serena Williams, had committed to playing the event when it was announced in November. She has won seven grand slams in singles and a whopping 13 more in doubles with her sister. You can even add in two more grand slams in mixed doubles with fellow American Justin Gimelstob.

Her teammates don’t have similar credentials, but are rising stars in American tennis. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, ranked third in the world in doubles, has won two major championships in doubles with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. She also has two mixed doubles major championships to her credit.

Rounding out the American contingent, captained by Mary Joe Fernandez, is 26th-ranked singles player Sloane Stephens and 46th ranked CoCo Vandeweghe.

“We have great variety and depth on our team for Hawai’i,” said Fernandez, a current tennis commentator for ESPN. “I am thrilled to have Venus, one of tennis’ greatest champions, competing for us. Sloane had a strong start to the season, winning Auckland for her second tour singles title, and CoCo and Bethanie are playing really well in singles and doubles.”

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Poland, the opponent for the United States, doesn’t bring similar name recognition to the event. Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded fourth in this year’s Australian Open, is not participating in the event. Captain Klaudia Jans-Ignacik will be one of the four playing representatives of her team. Joining her will be Magda Linette, ranked 93rd in singles, Paula Kania, ranked 159th, and Alicja Rosolska, ranked 44th in doubles.

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“Poland brings a skilled team and we look forward to competing. We are very excited to bring Fed Cup tennis to Hawai’i for the first time and the fans to come cheer us on,” Fernandez said.

At stake in next month’s Fed Cup is a spot in April’s World Group Playoffs, where a place in next year’s World Group is on the line. The loser of the USA/Poland match falls down to the World Group II Playoffs to stay in World Group II next year.

Play begins on Feb. 6 with a pair of singles matches, beginning at 11 a.m. On the final day of the two-day event, “reverse-singles” matches start at 10 a.m., with a doubles match to wrap things up. Matches will be broadcast on the Tennis Channel.

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Team USA has not lost to Poland in three different events. Additionally, the United States has never lost an individual match against Poland in Fed Cup history.

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