The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced that her core group of Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Melanie Oudin, and former world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber will be joined by 2010 US Open and Wimbledon doubles champion Vania King in representing the U.S. against Belgium in the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Quarterfinal in Antwerp, Belgium, February 5-6. Mattek-Sands, Oudin and Huber have led the U.S. to consecutive Fed Cup finals the past two seasons, while King returns to the U.S. Fed Cup roster for the first time since the 2009 final. Three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, winner of seven major titles, are expected to compete for Belgium. The quarterfinal tie will be contested on an indoor hard court at the Sportpaleis Antwerp.
The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 6 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, February 7. Tennis Channel will present daily live coverage beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday.
"Once again Bethanie, Melanie and Liezel have answered the call and are ready to start another Fed Cup campaign. Venus (Williams) was going to play until her injury in Australia. Vania King will join the team and is able to help us in singles or doubles," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. "We are facing a tough opponent on the road and competing against two of the world’s best players in Kim (Clijsters) and Justine (Henin). It is a big challenge, but our team always welcomes the opportunity to represent their country and compete on the Fed Cup stage."
Mattek-Sands, 25, will make her fifth Fed Cup appearance for the U.S since making her debut in 2009. With the U.S. trailing Russia 2-1 in the 2010 Fed Cup semifinal, Mattek-Sands won the fourth singles match to force the decisive double rubber then partnered with Liezel Huber to beat Elena Dementieva and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-1 to clinch a spot in the final for the U.S. It was the first time in U.S. Fed Cup history that a player won two live consecutive Fed Cup matches on the final day of competition since the best-of-five match format was instituted in 1995. Mattek-Sands has a 5-4 career Fed Cup record, and is undefeated in three doubles matches. She is currently ranked No. 48 in singles and No. 17 in doubles, and reached the 2010 Wimbledon doubles semifinals with Fed Cup teammate Huber.
Oudin, 19, has been named to the U.S. Fed Cup team for seven consecutive ties since making her debut in the 2009 World Group quarterfinal. She owns a 5-4 career singles record in Fed Cup competition, and earned the only point for the U.S. in the 2010 final when she beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in straight sets. In 2009, Oudin defeated former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic en route to a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, and made headlines when she upset 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Dementieva and former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova in three set matches to become the youngest American quarterfinalist at the US Open since 1999. She is currently ranked No. 64 in the world.
King, who will turn 22 the week of the quarterfinal, will make her first Fed Cup appearance for the U.S. since the 2009 World Group final, when the U.S. lost to Italy 4-0. She is 4-6 all-time in Fed Cup matches, but holds a 3-2 record in doubles. King rocketed up the WTA doubles rankings in 2010 partnering Yaroslava Shvedova to win Wimbledon and the US Open. King reached five other doubles finals, winning two. She has won 12 doubles in all and also reached the mixed doubles final at the French Open in 2009. King is currently ranked No. 88 in singles and No. 4 in doubles.
Huber, 34, has won five of her six career matches for the U.S. Fed Cup team, including tie-clinching semifinal matches in both 2009 and 2010 with partner Mattek-Sands. Currently the No. 3 doubles player in the world, Huber owns four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan. Born in South Africa, Huber spent four years on the South African Fed Cup team (1998-00, ’03) where she posted a 9-3 overall record (9-2 doubles) in 12 ties. She became a U.S. citizen on July 25, 2007, with the hopes of playing for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games (where she teamed with Lindsay Davenport to reach the doubles quarterfinals). Huber and Martina Navratilova are the only players in Fed Cup history to have represented another nation before playing for the U.S.
The U.S. is 5-1 all-time against Belgium in Fed Cup competition. The U.S. defeated Belgium 5-0 in the last meeting between the two countries in the 2007 World Group first round in Delray Beach, Fla., as Venus and Serena Williams combined to win three singles matches and Vania King recorded victories in both singles and doubles.
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 90 countries competing this year. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles – the last coming in 2000 – and is one of eight nations which will compete for the 2011 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to www.usta.com