U.S. Fed Cup fights for tournament spot

April 18, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s playoff competition against France in St. Louis this weekend, with live world-whiparound telecasts on Center Court Saturday, April 19, beginning at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 20 ET, beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Similar to the setup used at major events like the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Center Court utilizes a central-desk format and seamless coverage of matches playing simultaneously on multiple courts. The United States must defeat France to qualify for the 2015 Fed Cup tournament. Former Australian Open semifinalist (2013) Sloane Stephens will join Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale as they fight for a spot in next year’s Fed Cup tournament after losing their first-round match to Italy in February.

In addition to televising the United States-France Fed Cup playoff this weekend, Tennis Channel will cover the 2015 Fed Cup semifinals live on Center Court with Italy-Czech Republic play, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, beginning at 7 a.m. ET, and Germany-Australia competition in Brisbane, Australia, beginning at 10:45 p.m. ET.

Tennis Channel will also feature the men’s Monte Carlo tournament and the women’s Kuala Lumpur tournament this weekend, which feature such stars as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka and Dominika Cibulkova.

Coverage on Center Court is as follows (all time ET):

Saturday, April 19:

Sunday, April 20:

The United States and France have faced each other 11 times in Fed Cup play, with the United States winning all but one of those meetings. However, France captured its sole victory against the United States in 2003 in the final. The American squad must defeat France in order to compete in the 2015 Fed Cup competition. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup championships, the most recent in 2000.

Retired tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, a member of the winning U.S. Fed Cup team in 1996, will lead the United States Fed Cup team for her sixth year as captain. Stephens reached her first seminal at a Grand Slam last year when she defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Keys received her first victory over a top-ten player last year at the Madrid Open when she defeated Li Na in the first round before falling to Angelique Kerber. Lepchenko had a breakout season last year when she advanced the fourth round at the French Open and the third rounds at both Wimbledon and the US Open. McHale earned praise for her impressive performance at the 2013 US Open in the third round before falling to former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

If France wins this weekend it will qualify for a chance to play for the 2015 Fed Cup. France’s team is captained by Amelie Mauresmo and features Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Virginie Razzano, and Claire Feuerstein.