Inexperienced Italian, U.S., teams meet in Fed Cup

Feb. 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM
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CLEVELAND, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Italy's Karin Knapp will be the only player born before 1990 on the schedule this weekend when Italy opens its Fed Cup title defense against the United States.

The United States and Italy both have a series of veteran high-profile players -- such as world since No. 1 American Serena Williams and No. 1 doubles team of Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci -- but none will be on hand to play in Cleveland this weekend when Italy meets the U.S. team in a Fed Cup quarterfinal.

Italy won its fourth Fed Cup championship last year. All of the Italian titles have come since 2006 and the Italians were runners-up in 2007.

The United States owns a record 17 Fed Cup championships but none since 2000.

Even with all that Italian and American Fed Cup history, only two of the eight women scheduled to play this weekend have appeared in a Fed Cup match.

Knapp, No. 40 in the world and 26 years old, has played just one Fed Cup singles match -- she lost -- but she was given the lead-off spot against American Christina McHale for Saturday's singles. McHale, 21, is 4-3 in Fed Cup matches.

The second match Saturday has the United States sending Madison Keys outs against Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi, 22, and Keys, 18, are making their Fed Cup debuts. None of the four players nominated to play doubles Sunday -- Italians Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci and Americans Lauren Davis and Alison Riske -- have Fed Cup experience on their resumes. Burnett turns 22 this month and is the oldest of the quartet while Matteucci, at 18, is the youngest.

The winner of the Italy-U.S. quarterfinals heads to the April 19-20 Fed Cup semifinals against either the Czech Republic or Spain.

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