Aus, US to clash in Fed Cup quarters

Austria will host the top-ranked United States team over the weekend in a quarter-final match-up of the Federation Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Innsbruck, Austria:

Austria will host the top-ranked United States team over the weekend in a quarter-final match-up of the Federation Cup. The tie will be played at the Olympic ski jumping arena Berg Isel near Innsbruck. The draw ceremony was conducted on Friday at the century-old Innsbruck City Tower in the old town of the city. Among those in attendance were USTA Vice President Michael Kohlhoff; Dr Ernst Volner, President, Austrian Tennis Federation and Hilda Zach, the Burgomaster of Innsbruck. The tie itself will be played in the unique Bergisel Stadium - the ski jump venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. The teams have met eight times in Fed Cup competition, with the Americans victorious on all but one outing. Austria's highest ranked singles player believes the home team have a good chance to progress, citing the clay surface as the biggest reason for optimism. Significantly, Austria's only victory over the US came on clay - and it was also the last time the teams played. Good chances On that occasion, the Europeans upset Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati in a first round match in April 2002 at the Olde Providence Racquet Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I think we have good chances against the American team. Even though they have the better ranked players, we are at home; we play on clay, which they don't like too much. Lately, they haven't had too many good results - Chandra (Rubin) has been injured - so we think we have a pretty good chance," says Barbara Schett, Austrian No1 Fed Cup player. In the absence of the Williams sisters, Chanda Rubin spearheads the US challenge. The 28-year-old brings a 7-2 win-loss record to Fed Cup competition - including an impressive 4-1 record on clay courts. On Saturday, Barbara Schwartz will face-off against Rubin the opening singles rubber. The second single will be between Barbara Schett and American doubles specialist Lisa Raymond. In Sunday's third and fourth rubbers, Schett will play Rubin and Schwartz will be up against Raymond. If required, the doubles rubber will feature Schett and Patricia Wartusch for Austria against Raymond and 47-year-old living legend Martina Navratilova. The winner of the tie will next face Argentina or Russia - that tie is being played in Buenos Aires, also over the weekend. (AP)