The competition in the eight-nation World Group event (which doesn’t include the lower group competitions) begins on Saturday, February 10. It’s going to be an exciting event as we’ll see national pride on the line. It’s one of the first events of the year where the players will represent their countries rather than perform individually.
Keep in mind that this event is played in pieces. While the event will start now, the semifinals will be played in late April, and the final in November. Let’s take a closer look at what we’ll see next week.
Event: ITF Fed Cup
Category: ITF International Competition
Date: Quarterfinals: February 10-11, 2018
Semifinals: April 21-22, 2018
Final: November 10-11, 2018
Location: All Fed Cup ties are hosted by one nation, determined by who previously hosted a tie between the two competing nations. Ties always rotate between nations. The four nations which previously hosted ties in the first-round matchups will play the 2018 ties on the road. The four nations which previously went on the road in the first-round matchups will play the 2018 ties at home. The process will repeat for each successive round.
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up
2017: United States def. Belarus
2016: Czech Republic def. France
2015: Czech Republic def. Russia
2014: Czech Republic def. Germany
2013: Italy def. Russia
Tournament Bracket – Host Nation Listed First
Top half of bracket (four nations)
Belarus vs. Germany
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland
Bottom half of bracket (four nations)
France vs. Belgium
United States vs. Netherlands
The Belarus-Germany Fed Cup tie will be a battle of undercard players. No Victoria Azarenka for Belarus, no Angelique Kerber for Germany. Julia Goerges will also not compete for Germany in this round, which will be held in Minsk on Belorusian soil.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka will be the main singles competitors for Belarus, going up against a combination of Tatjana Maria, Anna-Lena Friedsam and Anna-Lena Groenefeld for the Germans. Belarus, even without Azarenka, has to like its chances on its home court in a tie which will not offer any star power. This is the charm of Fed Cup, like Davis Cup – heroes can and do emerge from unlikely places under complicated circumstances.
In the next tie from the top half of the bracket, the Czechs and the Swiss will have the big-name presence the Belorusians and Germans lack. The Czechs will have Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova on their roster. The Swiss have Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic on their team. We could see a lot of first-rate tennis next weekend in Prague. The key to the whole tie is likely Bencic, who was injured for much of 2017 but upset Venus Williams at the Australian Open. Bencic is still trying to round into complete physical shape. That will require time as she tries to get back into rhythm on tour. If Bencic is able to play her best, Switzerland can stand up to the depth of the Czechs… but if not, it’s hard to see how the Swiss can ultimately prevail. This should be the most exciting part of this round as both sides have ample talent.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Belgium will have an Australian Open semifinalist, Elise Mertens, to throw against the French. Mertens will be joined by Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck. Mertens will have to carry the load against a French team led by Kristina Mladenovic, Pauline Parmentier, and Amandine Hesse. Mladenovic will have to carry the freight for France in her matches. The winner of a Mertens-Mladenovic match would own the upper hand. For all intents and purposes, this should be a pretty even showdown between the countries. They’re evenly matched.
In the final quarterfinal, the mismatch is pronounced. The United States will have Venus and Serena Williams on the roster plus major semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe. That’s serious firepower The Netherlands can’t come close to matching, with no players ranked inside the WTA top 100. Richel Hogenkamp, at 107, is the highest-ranked Dutch player. The United States shouldn’t have any problems advancing beyond them.
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