2017 Fed Cup First-round Recap
The quarterfinals of the World Group were played over the weekend.
The first round of the 2017 Fed Cup saw completion over the weekend. The nation-focused event was staged at various venues throughout the world with the defending champion Czech Republic one of the countries that advanced.
The Czechs seemed to be in tough from the onset as they faced the Spaniards, a team that featured Garbine Muguruza as their strongest nomination. The reigning French Open champion was able to get her side off on the right foot in the first rubber, defeating Barbora Strycova in three sets. However, Karolina Pliskova really came to the rescue after that, defeating both Lara Arruabarrena and Muguruza in the next two rubbers before Strycova redeemed her earlier loss and clinched for the Czechs with a win in the fourth rubber.
Other nations that advanced were the USA, Switzerland, and Belarus. At time of writing, the American/German tie was still in progress however the Americans held an insurmountable 4-0 lead in Hawaii. Coco Vandeweghe was a big part of America’s success as she beat both Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges. Alison Riske also won a singles rubber, beating Petkovic in straight sets.
The Swiss had no trouble with the French thanks in large part to Timea Bacsinszky. The veteran won two singles rubbers over both Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic before teaming with Martina Hingis for a doubles win. Belinda Bencic also won a rubber in the tie, defeating France’s Pauline Parmentier.
The Belarus victory over the Netherlands is certainly an interesting one. It will keep Victoria Azarenka alive in the 2017 Fed Cup. The former World No. 1 recently began training again after giving birth to her first child. It’s possible that upon her return she might form part of the Belarusian team during ties later this season. Her talent definitely makes Belarus one to watch as the World Group plays out.
The next round takes place in late April. The Americans will host the Czech Republic while Belarus will host the Swiss. Nominations are a ways off from being announced with the Czechs looming large to make the final if no one named Williams represents America. Belarus chances against the Swiss might hinge on Azarenka being at the top of her game, especially if Belinda Bencic is back to playing strong tennis by April.