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Fed Cup La Jolla matches yield U.S victory

By Manny Lopez

For the first time in its 45-year history, the Fed Cup was held in La Jolla. The United States hosted Germany in a best of five tournament, which lasted 3 days due to rain on Sunday at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

The U.S. defeated Germany finishing 4-1 with Ashley Harkleroad, winning the decisive match against Sabine Lisicki, 6-4, 7-5, following Linday Davenport’s win over Julia Georges 6-1, 6-2.

After the match, Harkleroad ran a victory lap around the court holding the U.S. flag in the air. She later said “I’m proud of myself and super excited with the way that I played and handled my nerves.”

Making her Fed Cup debut, Harkleroad, 22, showed poise and ability. But despite her great performance, Harkleroad will more than likely be forced to make room on the team for both Serena and Venus Williams who, according to U.S. Team Captain Zina Garrison, have already committed to joining the team next month.

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“I wouldn’t be disappointed at all,” Harkleroad said, “It just means that I would be able to continue to play tournaments and work on my own ranking.”

Lindsay Davenport, 31, a former number one player in the world, made her first professional U.S. singles appearance since the 2006 U.S. Open.

On Saturday Davenport suffered her first Fed Cup loss on U.S. Soil in nearly 14 years to 18-year old Sabine Lesicki, 6-1, 7-5. Davenport came in with a 31-2 overall Fed Cup record. She said, “I’m just disappointed for the team. It wouldn’t have mattered if we were here or in Germany. I pride myself on having a good Fed Cup record.”

The U.S. will now face defending Fed Cup Champion Russia in the semifinals this coming April 26-27. Russia is considered to be the strongest team, winning three of the last four Fed Cup titles. Maria Sharapova made her Fed Cup debut for the Russians during the weekend, winning her two matches.

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Garrison, who has faced the Russians before said, “We know we have to get through them if we want to get to the finals. I’m banking on that we can.” Russia beat Israel to advance to the semifinals 4-1.

The U.S. currently leads all other countries with 17 Fed Cup titles and holds the record for the most matches won with 136, including 37 in a row. The U.S. has not won a title since 2000 and holds a 4-2 lead over Russia in head-to-head play.

Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 82 countries competing this year.

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club has been a tennis destination since 1935.

In 1942, the Club hosted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships.

In 2006 the Club hosted the Davis Cup First Round.

Today, the club still hosts The Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships in March along with USTA National Hard Court Championships for the Women’s 50-90 age groups in May, and the USTA National Men’s & Women’s 40 & over Hard Courts in December. Also in December is the USTA National Father & Son Hard Court Championships.