The big news out of the Fed Cup this weekend is the return of former No. 1 Martina Hingis to singles competition. With Belina Bencic opting out of the team, Switzerland has turned to the 34-year-old Swiss Miss for its match at Poland in a World Group Play-off. Hingis hasn’t played a singles match since 2007 Beijing.
“The comfort zone is there for me to play doubles,” Hingis said. “Obviously, I’ve played very well in the last five weeks winning three titles, the confidence is there but singles is a different ball game.
“But Heinz has the trust in me so I was like ‘okay, let’s go for it, let’s try’ and hopefully I can make at least a game of it and earn a point for Switzerland.”
Hingis will match up Saturday against Agnieszka Radwanksa in Poland.
“After so many years on tour, she cannot forget how to play good singles,” said Radwanska whose game has been likened to Hingis’s. “So she can still be very dangerous. I have to be very focussed from the start of the match.”
In another Play-off, Serena Williams leads the U.S. in an away tie against a tough Italian team.
In the World Group semifinals, France goes to the Czech Republic where Petra Kvitova returns to play. The 2-time Wimbledon champion withdrew from Indian Wells and Miami due to exhaustion, but it ready to go for her defending champion home country.
“I’m feeling better than before, that’s for sure,” said Kvitova. “I hope that the break helped me. I hope I am going to be ready. Every practice which I have had has been perfect. The match is always different but I hope it is going to be smooth. The Fed Cup is a special event for me and I am always glad to be a part of the team and playing in front of the home crowd.”
The other semi pits Germany at Russia. The Germans have opted for Sabine Lisicki and Julia Goerges for singles over Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic; while Russia, which lost the services of Maria Sharapova to injury, will look to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS
Czech Republic (s) (c) v France
Cez Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic (hard – indoors)
Russia (s) (c) v Germany (s)
Adler Arena, Sochi, Russia (clay – indoors)
WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS
Italy (s) (c) v USA
Circolo Tennis Brindisi, ITA (clay – outdoors)
Netherlands (c) v Australia (s)
Maaspoort Sports & Events, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, NED (clay – indoors)
Poland (s) (c) v Switzerland
Centrum Rekreacyjno Sportowe, Zielona Góra, POL (hard – indoors)
Canada (s) (c) v Romania
Aréna Maurice Richard, Montreal, CAN (hard – indoors)
WORLD GROUP II PLAY-OFFS
Serbia (s) (c)* v Paraguay
Spens Sport Centre, Novi Sad, SRB (hard – indoors)
Slovakia (s) (c)* v Sweden
Aegon Arena National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (clay – indoors)
Japan (s) (c)* v Belarus
Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – indoors)
Argentina (c) v Spain (s)
Tecnopolis, Buenos Aires, ARG (clay – outdoors)
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