A loaded U.S. team faces France for spot in Fed Cup final this weekend

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The United States is hoping to win back-to-back Fed Cups. (AP)

A star-studded American team - made up of Sloane StephensMadison KeysCoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands - will battle France as the Fed Cup semifinals take place this weekend.

The US team should bring a lot of confidence into the weekend. Not only are they the defending Fed Cup champions, but No. 9 Stephens, No. 13 Keys and No. 16 Vandeweghe are all ranked higher than the highest-ranked player on the French team (which is Kristina Mladenovic, who’s ranked No. 20).

There’s more—Stephens just won her first Premier Mandatory title in Miami, Keys is fresh off the semifinals of Charleston and Vandeweghe is on a 13-rubber winning streak in Fed Cup play.

And Mattek-Sands—a former World No. 1 in doubles—is 7-0 lifetime in Fed Cup doubles rubbers.

CoCo Vandeweghe discusses the Fed Cup semifinals: 

“I’m very confident that USA can make it to another final,” Vandeweghe told FedCup.com.

“We have a lot of depth. From the singles players all the way to the doubles, we come together really well. It’s been working really well for the last couple of years of sacrifice and team camaraderie. That really makes a difference for each and every tie and I think team USA does a really good job of that.”

France has a lot going for them too, though. While the US leads France in their overall Fed Cup head-to-head, 11-2, the French have won two of their last three ties. France has also won six of its last seven ties on home soil, and this one’s on home soil—on the indoor clay of Aix-en-Provence.

If the American team can get by France this weekend, it’ll be the first time they’ve reached back-to-back Fed Cup finals since 2009 and 2010 (they finished runners-up to Italy both of those years).

The other Fed Cup semifinal, which sees the Czech Republic play Germany, features four of the Top 12 players in the world—the Czech team is headlined by No. 6 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Petra Kvitova, while the German team features No. 11 Julia Goerges and No. 12 Angelique Kerber.

The Czech Republic isn’t just 7-1 in career Fed Cup ties against Germany—with the only loss coming all the way back in 1987—but they’ve also reached the Fed Cup final in five of the last seven years.

Kerber is hopeful Germany can turn the tide.

“The past doesn’t matter,” she said. “Every single match starts from zero. I think it will be a completely new match. We have a fifty-fifty chance.”

This Week on Tennis Channel Plus:

ATP Monte Carlo (4/15-4/22)
-Tennis Channel Plus has multi-court coverage of the 2018 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters beginning Sunday April 16 at 7:00 AM ET, first to last ball!

WTA Dothan (4/17-4/22)
-Don’t miss the Hardee’s Pro Classic featuring Taylor Townsend and Madison Brengle live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning April 17 at 11:00 AM ET 

Fed Cup (4/21-4/22)
-Tennis Channel Plus is your home for Fed Cup action! Watch live ties between USA vs. France and Germany vs. Czech Republic beginning at 6:00 AM ET on Saturday April 21

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