STUTTGART, GERMANY: Andrea Petkovic always enjoys playing the opening match of a Fed Cup tie, as it allows her the opportunity to put all her energy and emotion into her match and then cheer on her teammate in the second singles rubber.
Petkovic, the world No. 19, will get her wish again on Saturday as she was drawn to face 18-year-old Christina McHale in the first singles match at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie between USA and Germany at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.
In the second singles match, Melanie Oudin plays Julia Goerges.
For Sunday, Petkovic and Oudin will play first followed by Goerges and McHale and then the doubles rubber between Liezel Huber and Vania King and Sabine Lisicki and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
For Saturday’s first match, it will be the first career meeting between Petkovic and McHale. Petkovic is having the best season of her career, climbing to No. 19 in the world rankings and reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals. She also has a 5-3 career Fed Cup win-loss record and is 5-1 on clay.
“I have the pleasure of playing the first match and I am really looking forward to it,” Petkovic said. “And on the other hand, I have enough time to support Julia afterwards. I really enjoy that every time and I think you can always bring some extra energy into supporting so I always prefer playing first so for me it’s a good draw.”
It is a tough first match for McHale, who will be playing her second career Fed Cup match and her first live match. She also recently reached her career-high ranking of No. 82, after reaching the quarterfinals at the Family Circle Cup last week.
“I think it will be good to start. There won’t be any results yet so I can just go play and see what happens,” she explained. “I think each day all of us are getting more used to the surface and conditions. I think we will just give it our all and see how it goes.”
The second singles match between Oudin and Goerges will be a rematch from the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open last month, a match that Oudin, the world No. 81, won in straight sets.
“I am looking forward to the match against Melanie,” Goerges, the world No. 34, said. “I would like to have a little revenge from Miami. I am trying to do my best and we will see how it ends up. It is going to be tough anyway because it’s Fed Cup.”
Both Rittner and Fernandez had options in selecting their singles player with both Lisicki and Groenefeld former top-25 players and Vania King a great singles and doubles player. King was added to the U.S. team this week as a replacement for the injured Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Both captains can change their nominations for Sunday if necessary, depending on Saturday’s results.
“Both Melanie and Christina have been playing on the clay and doing well and everyone was a possibility,” Fernandez said. “So we will start with this line-up but it can always change.”
“We had a really good week of practice and I have four really good players and you always have to choose,” Rittner said. “I really have trust in the whole team. It is going to be difficult every single match that is for sure.”
The full draw is as follows:
R1: Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Christina McHale (USA)
R2: Julia Goerges (GER) v Melanie Oudin (USA)
R3: Andrea Petkovic (GER) v Melanie Oudin (USA)
R4: Julia Goerges (GER) v Christina McHale (USA)
R5: Anna-Lena Groenefeld / Sabine Lisicki (GER) v Liezel Huber / Vania King (USA)
Watch the tie live on: FedCup.tv
Andrea Petkovic (GER) - 15/04/2011
Captain Barbara Rittner (GER) - 15/04/2011
Captain Mary Joe Fernandez (USA) - 15/04/2011
Melanie Oudin (USA) - 15/04/2011