Italy's Sara Errani returns a ball to Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova during their semi-final singles match at the Fed Cup World Group tennis tournament in Ostrava, April 21, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
The Fed Cup's last matchup for the first round will put returning World Group member Italy against the USA. Italy will hold the home court advantage as it competes against team USA at 105 Stadium in Rimini, Italy.
The rivalry between the two countries goes back to the first Fed Cup competition in 1963, which resulted in a USA 3-0 victory. According to the official Fed Cup website, Italy lost its top ranking spot in the competition after being defeated by Czech Republic in last year's semifinals, 4-1. Meanwhile, the USA returned to the World Group after defeating Belarus and Ukraine with the help of the Williams sisters.
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The Italy vs. USA matchup will see the return of top seeded Italian player Sara Errani (6). No. 6-seeded Errani will be joined by teammates Roberta Vinci (16), Karin Knapp (122) and Nastassja Burnett (155). On team USA, the Williams sisters will not return to continue their winning streak. The team will, however, include Varvara Lepchenko (21), Jamie Hampton (64), Melanie Oudin (86) and Liezel Huber (8 Doubles).
The winner of the matchup will move on to the semifinals in April and will compete against the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Australia matchup. The loser of the matchup will head to the World Group Play-offs and will face one of the winners of the World Group II matchups for the chance to be in the world Group in 2014.
The Fed Cup kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 9 and will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 10. To watch the matches live, head here. Returning World Group member Italy will face off against USA in the first round of the tournament.
Italy vs. USA Matchup
Venue: 105 Stadium, Rimini, Italy
Saturday (February 9): 1500 hrs (0900 hrs EST)
Sunday (February 10): 1330 hrs (0730 hrs EST)