Stephens to lead US Fed Cup team against France

April 10, 2014 - 1:00:27 am

NEW YORK: World number 18 Sloane Stephens will lead the United States when they host France in a Fed Cup World Group play-off in St Louis, Missouri, this month.

The US Tennis Association and Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced the US squad for the April 19-20 tie on Wednesday, with Sloane heading a team that also includes Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale.

Keys is ranked 42nd in the world, Lepchenko 49th and McHale 57th. 

The best-of-five match series will be played at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

The winners will advance to the 2015 World Group and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year. The losers will be relegated to World Group II.

French captain Amelie Mauresmo has said that France’s team will include 22nd-ranked Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Virginie Razzano and Kristina Mladenovic. The United States has won the most Fed Cup titles of any nation with 17, but haven’t won the competition since 2000.

Meanwhile, Radek Stepanek said yesterday he believed Tomas Berdych will return for the semi-final against France in September after missing holders the Czech Republic’s quarter-final win over Japan last weekend.

“We know that if we want to succeed again, we have to play with the strongest team,” Stepanek told reporters.AFP