WHITE PLAINS, October 31, 2018 (Press Release)
The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi today announced that world No. 35 Danielle Collins, No. 48 Sofia Kenin, No. 63 Alison Riske and doubles No. 15 Nicole Melichar will represent the U.S. in the 2018 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final vs. the Czech Republic November 10-11 in Prague.
World No. 7 Petra Kvitova, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, doubles No. 1 Katerina Siniakova and doubles No. 5 Barbora Strycova will represent the Czech Republic for Captain Petr Pala in the best-of-five match series, which will be played on a hard court inside Prague’s 10,700-seat O2 Arena.
This year’s Final is the latest meeting between the two most successful Fed Cup nations. The U.S. is the defending Fed Cup champion and has won a record 18 Fed Cup titles. The Czechs are 10-time Fed Cup champions, with five of those coming in the last seven years, all under the guidance of Pala, whose five Fed Cup titles is the most of any captain in Fed Cup history.
Play will begin at 2 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) on Saturday, November 10, with two singles matches pitting each country’s No. 1 player against the other’s No. 2. Sunday’s play will begin at 12 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), with the two reverse singles matches – No. 1 vs. No. 1; No. 2 vs. No. 2 – followed by a possible fifth-and-decisive doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.
The U.S. is 10-2 all-time vs. the Czechs in Fed Cup. The two nations have met twice in the Final – with Czechoslovakia winning in 1985, in Japan, and the U.S. winning in 1986, in Prague. They last met in the 2017 Semifinals, on red clay in Tampa, Fla., which the U.S. won en route to winning its first Fed Cup title since 2000.
Last year was Rinaldi’s first as U.S. Fed Cup Captain, as she became the first U.S. captain to win the Fed Cup title in her debut year since Marty Riessen, with that 1986 victory in Prague. This year, Rinaldi is vying to become the first U.S. captain to win the Fed Cup title in each of her first two years as captain since Chris Evert in 1981-82.
Riske was a part of the 2017 U.S. squad that won the Fed Cup title over Belarus last year in Minsk, while this is the first Fed Cup nomination for Collins, Kenin and Melichar. Only two American players have previously made their Fed Cup playing debuts in the Final – CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Italy in 2010 and Chanda Rubin vs. Spain in 1995.
Collins, 24, has had a breakout year on tour, highlighted by semifinal performances at the Miami Open and Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose. Collins was a two-time NCAA singles champion at the University of Virginia (2014, 2016), becoming only the seventh woman all-time to win two NCAA singles titles. A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Collins was a trainee of renowned coach Nick Bollettieri.
Kenin, 19, is the youngest player ranked in the Top 50 and is a former junior national champion. She first broke onto the professional scene at the 2017 US Open in a third-round matchup with Maria Sharapova and again reached the third round of the US Open this year, where she lost to Pliskova. Kenin produced her best result as a pro in May, advancing to her first WTA semifinal at the grass-court tournament in Mallorca, where she beat world No. 6 Caroline Garcia. Kenin, from Pembroke Pines, Fla., won the 2015 USTA Girls’ 18s national championship as a 16-year old and was a part of the 2014 U.S. team that won the Junior Fed Cup title under then-captain Rinaldi.
Melichar, 25, from Stuart, Fla., reached her career-high No. 15 world ranking in doubles after a 2018 season in which she reached the Wimbledon doubles final, won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title and won her second and third career WTA doubles titles, in Prague and Tianjin, in addition to qualifying for and competing in doubles at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Riske, 28, has been successful on multiple surfaces in 2018. She reached the quarterfinals on hard courts – in Tokyo, where she beat Garbine Muguruza before losing to Pliskova in a third-set tiebreak – and on grass courts – in Mallorca, where she beat Angelique Kerber – and advanced to her sixth career WTA final on clay in Nurnberg. A former world No. 36 who made her Fed Cup debut in 2014, Riske’s career-best Grand Slam result came in 2013, when she defeated then-world No. 7 Kvitova en route to the fourth round at the US Open.