No. 3 American Singles Player Bethanie Mattek Makes Fed Cup Debut

January 28, 2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced today that Phoenix resident Bethanie Mattek, the third-highest ranked American woman in the world, will make her Fed Cup debut alongside Liezel Huber, the world’s No. 1 doubles player, Jill Craybas, and fellow first-time Fed Cupper Melanie Oudin when they face Argentina in the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal February 7-8 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 7 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, February 8. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. The U.S. won its last home Fed Cup tie in last year’s quarterfinal against Germany at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif.

“I am really excited about the team we are bringing to Surprise to begin our pursuit of the 2009 Fed Cup title,” said Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “We have a great mix of experience with Jill and Liezel, and youth with Bethanie and Melanie. We anticipate a competitive match against Argentina with an enthusiastic and passionate home crowd supporting us.”

Huber, 32, became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games. She finished the 2007 season tied for No. 1 in the world doubles rankings and hasn’t surrendered the top spot since. Huber, born in South Africa, spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team and posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties — all on red clay. She won her only match for the U.S. in last year’s semifinal tie against Russia, also on red clay. Huber is a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion, including a win at last year’s US Open.

Mattek, 23, will make her inaugural appearance on the U.S. Fed Cup team. She had the best season of her career in 2008, rising over 70 spots in the Sony Ericsson WTA rankings. She reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, her best showing in a Grand Slam, before losing to Serena Williams. Mattek also reached her first tour final in Quebec City, Canada in November, and reached the semifinals in Birmingham, England, and Los Angeles, after which Mattek made her debut in the Top 50.

Craybas, 34, will be making her first appearance for the U.S. since the 2006 World Group semifinal tie against Belgium, which the U.S. lost. She made her Fed Cup debut in 2004 against Austria on red clay and owns a 2-4 career Fed Cup record, with a 1-3 record in singles. Craybas reached her first tour final in Pattaya City, Thailand, last February, and also won two doubles titles in 2008.

Oudin, 17, will also be making her U.S. Fed Cup team competitive debut against Argentina, as she was named a future Fed Cupper for the 2007 World Group semifinal versus Russia in Stowe, Vt. Oudin officially turned pro after the 2008 US Open Junior Championships, where she reached the semifinals as the No. 2 seed. She achieved her best result in a tour event in Quebec City, where she recorded her first win over a Top 50 player (Sybille Bammer) en route to the quarterfinals. She won her first professional title in July at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky., and also appeared in the semifinals at two other $50,000 events.

The U.S. and Argentina have met three times in Fed Cup competition with the U.S. owning a 2-1 advantage. All three previous meetings occurred before the Fed Cup went to its current best-of-five format. Argentina won the last meeting between the two nations in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1993 World Group quarterfinal. Ines Gorrochategui beat Lindsay Davenport and Florencia Labat defeated Lori McNeil to give Argentina an insurmountable 2-0 lead. The Argentines then lost to Australia in the semifinal.

Two-day and single-session tickets for the Fed Cup quarterfinal between the U.S. and Argentina are still available. Ticket prices range from $50 to $200 for two-day packages with single-session tickets starting at $30. Tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (888) 334-USTA (8782), or online at Tickets are also available at the Surprise Stadium Box office located at 15960 North Bullard Avenue in Surprise from 10am-5pm or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

Tickets can also be purchased in person this Saturday, January 31, from 12-3 p.m. MT at the Tennis Block Party being held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex. Salespeople will be on-site in the Pro Shop to assist anyone wishing to buy tickets at the Block Party.

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 85 countries competing this year. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles — the last coming in 2000 — and is one of eight nations competing for the 2009 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group.