No Serena, but strong US squad for Fed Cup

The bad news for the U.S. Fed Cup team, which will face Switzerland next weekend, is that the anticipated participation of Serena Williams will not happen.

The good news is that the Americans are fielding an outstanding team against the Bencic-less Swiss.

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Charleston champion Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin return for the tie, to be played in San Antonio, Texas April 20-21.

A victory would keep the U.S. in World Group I.

The loss to Australia in February forced the former champions into a relegation situation.

Joining them are two rookies, Jessica Pegula and Jennifer Brady.

Canada all … out for Fed Cup

Two singles matches will be played on Saturday, starting at 2:30 p.m. local (3:30 p.m. EDT).

The reverse singles, and the doubles if necessary, start Sunday at 2 p.m. (3 p.m. EDT)

If you follow @tennislifenews on Twitter, of course, you already knew that Williams would not make the date.

Two rookies make Fed Cup debuts

Fed Cup
Brady, a fine hard court player, will be No. 3 on a US team that features Stephens and Keys. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Brady, 23, has had a very good season so far. Out of the qualifying in Dubai, she reached the third round and upset Caroline Garcia and Jelena Ostapenko on the way.

She made final of the Indian Wells Challenger, and then the third round of the main event – beating Garcia again before losing to Ashleigh Barty. 

As for Pegula, a 25-year-old who has come back from several major injuries over the last few years, it’s a great reward for a breakthrough season.

She currently stands at a career-best No. 74 in the rankings.

Keys and Stephens, who faced off in the quarterfinals of the Volvo Open in Charleston last week on the Har-Tru, are experienced Fed Cup performers who should have little trouble adjusting to the indoor hard court.

The U.S. is 8-0 in Fed Cup history against the Swiss, who will not have top player Belinda Bencic on board. But the two nations last met back in … 1993.

Leading the Swiss team will be Viktorija Golubic and Timea Bacsinszky. They are currently playing outdoors, on clay, at altitude at the WTA event in Lugano, Switzerland.

Conny Perrin, the third member, also is playing outdoors on clay, at altitude, but in Bogotá, Colombia.

Fed Cup
Bacsinszky (left) and Golubic will have a tough task trying to handle the American dynamic duo of Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys in their Fed Cup playoff tie next weekend. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

The fourth player will be 20-year-old Ylena In-Albon, currently ranked near her career best at No. 183 in singles.

Advantage: USA.

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