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US Fed Cup team announced

July 6, 2006 01:43 PM

Winners of July 15-16 Contest Advance to Fed Cup Final in September
 
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 6, 2006 -- The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison today announced that Jill Craybas, Jamea Jackson, Vania King and Mashona Washington will comprise the U.S. squad that will face Belgium in the 2006 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas semifinals at Sea'rena in Ostend Belgium, July 15-16.  The best-of-five match series will be played on an indoor hard court.  The winner advances to the Fed Cup Final and will face either Italy or Spain, September 16-17.   The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles and is seeking its first since 2000.  
 
Belgian Fed Cup Captain Carl Maes announced that his team will include World No. 2 Kim Clijsters, No. 3 Justine Henin-Hardenne, No. 130 Kirsten Flipkens and No. 387 Caroline Maes.  Belgium won its only Fed Cup title in 2001, the last year that Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne were on the same team.
 
Belgium defeated two-time defending champion Russia in the quarterfinals with the same squad that will take on the United States. Craybas, Jackson and King were on the U.S. team that defeated Germany in Ettenheim on red clay in their opening match. 

 
"All of the girls are excited to come back and to continue what they started in Germany," said Garrison.  "We would have had the exact same team, however Shenay (Perry) injured her knee.  We may not have the big name Americans, but we will be very competitive as this team showed in the quarterfinals." 
 
Craybas, who turned 32 on July 4, of Huntington Beach, Calif., is the third highest ranked American behind Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams and is currently No. 43.  She reached a career-high ranking of No. 39 in April.   Craybas won her only prior meeting with Clijsters en route to the round of 16 at the NASDAQ-100 Open in March.  The 1996 NCAA singles champion also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2005, upsetting two-time champion Serena Williams en route.  Craybas made her Fed Cup debut in 2004.
 
Jackson, 19, of Bradenton, Fla., is currently ranked No. 58 in the world.  She reached a career-high of No. 54 last month after reaching her first career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final in Birmingham, England, defeating No. 4 Maria Sharapova in the semifinals.   In April, Jackson became the lowest ranked singles player to represent the U.S. in Fed Cup and pulled the biggest upset win in U.S. Fed Cup history when she defeated No. 14 Anna-Lena Groenefeld.  She clinched the win for the U.S. the next day and joined Venus Williams and Monica Seles as the only Americans to win two live singles matches in their Fed Cup debut.
 
King, 17, of Long Beach, Calif., is currently ranked a career-high No. 88 on the Sony Ericsson WTA  Tour as a amateur and has improved her ranking 700 places since the beginning of 2005. She reached the semifinals at her WTA Tour debut in February at Pattaya City and the third round at Indian Wells.  At the 2005 US Open she became just the third woman ever to enter qualifying as a wild card and win a main draw match, eventually losing in the second round to Nathalie Dechy.  She made her Fed Cup debut in April, losing a dead rubber doubles match.
 
Washington, 30, of Houston, is currently ranked No. 120 in the world.  She made her Fed Cup debut last year in the semifinals against Russia, losing to Elena Dementieva on the opening day.  Washington reached a career high No. 50 in the world in November 2004.
 
The United States is undefeated in four prior meetings against Belgium in Fed Cup.  The U.S. swept a depleted Belgium squad led by No. 175 Els Callens in the first round of the 2005 Fed Cup in Delray Beach, Fla. 
 
The Tennis Channel will broadcast the matches on a same-day tape-delay basis.

 

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