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27 February 2013

Venues set for April Fed Cup ties


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Ray GiubiloSara Errani and Roberto Vinci (ITA)

Italy v Czech Republic

Venue: Circolo del Tennis Palermo
City: Palermo, Italy
Surface: Outdoors clay

Italy will play its Fed Cup semifinal against Czech Republic on red clay at the Circolo del Tennis Palermo. Corrado Barazzutti’s team has not lost a home tie on clay since they fell to Russia 4-1 in Brindisi in 2005 while the Czechs have played just once on clay in their last 13 Fed Cup ties. Incidentally, that lone appearance on dirt culminated in a 5-0 defeat to Italy in Rome in April 2010.

The three-time champions, who will feature in the last four of the World Group for the fifth straight year on April 20-21, have never hosted a Fed Cup tie in Palermo. The city has, however, welcomed Davis Cup on five previous occasions.

Russia v Slovak Republic

Venue: Sports Center Krylatskoye
City: Moscow, Russia
Surface: Indoor clay

Moscow’s Sports Center Krylatskoye will play host to Russia’s clash with Slovak Republic in the World Group semifinals.

The facility, which boasts indoor and outdoor cycle tracks as well as the largest Ice Palace in Europe, represents a move away from the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, which has hosted three of Russia’s last four Fed Cup ties, and the Sports Palace “Megasport”, which has also proved a popular choice of venue for the four-time champions in the past.

Shamil Tarpischev’s side will host a tie on a clay court for a change, having played on hard courts in five of its last six Fed Cup ties. They defeated Slovak Republic in each of their two previous meetings on clay. The two teams last faced off in 2001, when Russia won their World Group play off.

World Group play-offs

Australia v Switzerland

Venue: Tennis Club Chiasso
City: Chiasso-Seseglio, Switzerland
Surface: Outdoor clay

Switzerland will host its World Group Play-off against Australia on outdoor clay at the Tennis Club Chiasso in southern Switzerland. Tennis Australia was originally awarded the choice of ground but the Fed Cup Committee approved a proposal by the two nations to switch the tie to Switzerland. This is the second consecutive year that Australia and Switzerland have met in Fed Cup. The Australians won 4-1 in a World Group II first round clash last year, which was played at Fribourg. The last time Switzerland defeated Australia was in 1983.

Germany v Serbia

Venue: Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany
City: Stuttgart, Germany
Surface: Indoor clay

Germany's first meeting with Serbia in Fed Cup will take place on indoor clay courts at the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart. Built in 2006, the venue has hosted boxing, concerts, basketball, handball and hockey in the past as well as being home to the Porshe Tennis Grand Prix WTA Tour event. The hosts will bid for an immediate return to the World Group after losing to Czech Republic in the first round last year, while Serbia is bidding to maintain its status in the competition's top tier.

USA v Sweden

Venue: Delray Beach Tennis Centre
City: Delray Beach, USA
Surface: Outdoor hard

USA has confirmed its World Group play-off tie with Sweden will take place at the Delray Beach Tennis Centre in Florida. The venue, which hosts an ATP 250 tournament each February, has a stadium capacity of 3,100 and Mary Joe Fernandez’s team will hope to pack the stands to the rafters as they bid to avoid dropping into World Group II for the second straight year. Sweden has won just one of the previous four clashes between the two teams, but will head to Delray Beach brimming with confidence after coming back from 2-0 down to stun Argentina on away soil in Buenos Aires in the World Group II first round.

Spain v Japan

Venue: Real Club de Polo (outdoors, clay)
City: Barcelona, Spain
Surface: Outdoors clay

Spain will host its Fed Cup World Group Play-off tie at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona. The venue hosted the equestrian competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics and is more regularly used for polo, field hockey, squash and swimming, as well as tennis by its members. This will be the second meeting between Spain and Japan, with Spain winning the first 3-0, and the 14th time in a row Spain has played a Fed Cup tie on a clay court.

World Group II play-offs

Belgium v Poland

Venue: Tennisclub Koksijde
City: Koksijde, Belgium
Surface: Indoors hard

Belgium faces the prospect of back-to-back relegations when they take on Poland in their Fed Cup World Group II Play-off tie at the Tennisclub Koksijde in in Koksijde. The venue, which plays hosts to ITF-womens' annual tournament the Flanders Ladiers Trophy, represents a move away from the Spiroudome, Charleroi, which has hosted Belgium's last two Fed Cup ties. It's the fourth straight home tie Belgium has played on a hard court.

Ukraine v Canada

Venue: Sport Club Meridian 
City: Kiev, Ukraine
Surface: Indoor clay

Ukraine will welcome Canada to the Sport Club Meridian in Kiev for its World Group II play-off on April 20-21 as the hosts bid to avoid relegation into zonal competition for the first time since 2007 after losing 3-1 to Spain in the World Group II first round. Canada meanwhile, travel to Kiev looking to regain the World Group II place they lost in 2011.

France v Kazakhstan

Venue: Palais des Sports de Besançon
City: Besançon, France
Surface: Hard

France will host World Group II Play-off debutants Kazakhstan at the Palais des Sports de Besançon in eastern France. Amelie Mauresmo's team last played at the venue in April 2012, when they defeated Slovenia 5-0 to remain in the World Group II Play-offs, and will be hoping for a repeat of that success against a dangerous and determined Kazakhstan side. The visitors travel to France on a three-match winning streak in Fed Cup and will bid to end a four-year spell in Asia/Oceania Zone Group I with victory.

Argentina v Great Britain

Venue: Parque Roca, Buenos Aires
City: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Surface: Outdoors clay

Argentina will stage its World Group II Play-off tie against Great Britain on clay courts at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires. It will be the third consecutive Fed Cup tie that Argentina has hosted at the venue, although Bettina Fulco's team will be determined to bounce back from the disappointment of its last outing there when Sweden came back from 2-0 down to win in their World Group II opener in February. Although these teams have met twice before, with Great Britain winning on each occasion, this will be the first time they have met in either Argentina or Great Britain. Judy Murray's team is bidding to win its first Fed Cup tie on clay since defeating Bulgaria in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I round robin stages in 2007.

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