Stephens pulls out of Fed Cup with strained ab muscle

by: AP February 03, 2013

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Sloane Stephens is pulling out of the U.S. Fed Cup team's upcoming first-round matches against Italy because of a strained abdominal muscle.

Melanie Oudin replaces Stephens on the U.S. roster for the Feb. 9-10 matches on indoor red clay at Rimini, Italy.

Stephens, currently ranked a career-high 17th, was hurt during her run to the Australian Open semifinals last month. She says she's "terribly disappointed" to miss the Fed Cup.

Oudin, a 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist, joins Fed Cup rookies Varvara Lepchenko and Jamie Hampton, plus doubles specialist Liezel Huber.

The highest-ranked American, Serena Williams, hurt her back in a quarterfinal loss to Stephens in Melbourne.

Italy is expected to be led by Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

More Stories

Looking to get season on track, Halep fights off teen Osaka in Miami

Halep hit three more winners than Osaka and two less unforced errors. 

Elena Vesnina makes quick exit at Miami Open; Garbine Muguruza wins

On the men's side, No. 3 Milos Raonic won in his first match since Feb. 25. 

Who is the next women's star? As of now, it's anybody's guess

The WTA tour is arguably as wide open as it's ever been.