Federation Cup Drama
The women's pro tennis Tour paused last week for the semifinal round of the 2010 Federation Cup World Group Ties, as well as the relegation rounds to see which countries would remain in the World Group. In the semis, defending champion, Italy, cruised
In the other semi, the United States faced Russia, which had won four of the last six Fed Cup titles, losing to Italy in the finals in 2009. The U.S. which is seeking its record 18th Fed Cup title, squeaked through to the final on some courageous and inspired play by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the heroine of the Tie by winning against a depleted Russian team in the final singles and decisive doubles matches.
This November the Federation Cup Final will be played in the United States and most likely not on red clay courts. The U.S. team captain, Mary Joe Fernandez, has the option of playing Serena or Venus Williams in the Final and then Mattek-Sands most likely won't play singles. Nonetheless, Mattek-Sands had a career(-building) weekend and hopefully she will not only savor the success, but also build upon it during the spring and summer Grand Slam season.
In the World Group playoff Ties, the star-studded Belgian team was ultimately led by Yanina Wickmayer who won both her singles matches helping the Belgians defeat Estonia 3-2. Kim Clijsters won her first match Saturday and then was sidelined with a foot injury while Justine Henin played and lost with a broken pinkie finger. In other World Group playoff Ties, the Slovaks led by Daniela Hantuchova are back in the World Group for the first time since 2004 after beating Serbia in Belgrade 3-2. France managed to remain in the World Group after defeating Germany 3-2. Australia was led by the red-hot, Samantha Stosur, who extended her Fed Cup unbeaten streak to thirteen straight matches while leading the Aussie over the Ukraine and back into the World Group.