U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LA JOLLA, California, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Ashley Harkleroad led the United States into the Fed Cup world group semi-finals by winning her two singles matches on debut against Germany but could be dropped for the next round.

The U.S. meet champions Russia in the last four, almost certainly on a slow clay surface in Moscow, and accept they have to field their strongest team to have any chance of progressing.

If available, their best singles players would come from the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, and former world number one Lindsay Davenport.

"It all depends who we get to field," Davenport told reporters after winning her last two rubbers on Monday in the first-round tie against Germany.

"If we can field our strongest team, we have a great shot (against Russia). If not, it's going to be tricky because it's going to be, I'm sure, on a slow red clay court which is obviously not the Americans' best surface.

"We are fired up. We're going to try and talk either Venus or Serena into coming."

Neither of the Williams sisters was available for the La Jolla tie, although Venus did consider playing in it.


"Venus had me wait probably till a week up until (the team was announced)," U.S. Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison said. "She was going back and forth. She basically said she played five weeks straight and couldn't do it. Look for her in April."

Seventeen-times champions, the U.S. will be bidding for their first Fed Cup title since 2000 when they face Russia on April 26-27.

The Americans lost to the Russians 3-2 in last year's final on a hardcourt surface in Vermont.

"I'm tired of Russia," Garrison smiled. "I want the ones (players) who are here right now just to enjoy the fact that we have the opportunity to go to Russia."

Harkleroad, who sealed victory for the U.S. by beating German teenager Sabine Lisicki 6-4 7-5, said she would not be disappointed if overlooked.

"It just means that I would be able to continue to play tournaments and work on my own ranking, continue to play and continue to move up," added the 22-year-old, who crushed Tatjana Malek 6-1 6-3 in Saturday's opening singles.

"So I wouldn't be disappointed. They (Russia) are a tough team. But I definitely would be all for it if they asked me to go to Moscow, for sure." (Editing by Ed Osmond)

I'm happy to see she's keeping her option open!

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 03:54 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Ashley. I realize that we have a better chance of winning if we were to have Venus and Serena but Ashley played so well. She was the Fed Cup hero in the tie against Germany.

I'm glad to see she's understanding though.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:00 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Honestly if I was the FED CUP Captain, and the way Lindsay played, she might be the weakest link on clay.
Her movement was hideous and she has to be on point to be of any use on that surface especially with a crowd that is going to be against her.

In her case I would wait to see how she plays at Amelia Island before saying yes to her.

I can see Harkelroad beating Chakvetadze, Vesnina, maybe even Petrova on clay.

I don't think Lindsay has the patience right now to beat Anna, Dementieva, Kuzzie, etc.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Its a bit of a kick in the teeth for Ashley.

Davenport hates clay, so dont see why she would play to be honest.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Davenport should definitely play if Serena doesn't. We don't have any better options. The best team on the Russian side would be Sharapova and Kuznetsova. Maria is almost the equivalent of Lindsay on slow clay so it's not like they have too much of an advantage. IMO, the tie would be in the hands of Venus(as usual) and the doubles team.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

If Zina actually picks Lindsay over Ashley it would be even poorer judgement than I would ever have expected.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Davenport on clay is a bad idea-Maria may have poor movement but she'll still show Dav up
obv Harkleroad is unlucky to beat any of the top russians on clay but neither is Davenport so
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

I'm not surprised and i'm happy Ashley isn't bitter about it either.

I agree with other posters who say Davenport shouldn't be considered to an extent. I would say let Lindsay play because this could be her last year to play Fed Cup, but if you're looking at it from a strategic point of view, Ashley would be the smarter choice.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

If they do let Ashley stay in Fed Cup for the tie against Russia, it would be a good idea. I don't expect her to beat Sharapova on clay but she CAN beat Chakvetadze, Safina, or Vesnina on clay to get it the doubles rubber.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

And to think That RUssians are good on CLAY????? Hello???? Maria??? Anna????? Safina?????? Get it Tgoether!!!!!! The only Good Clay players on the team are Elena and Kuznetsova!!!!!!!!!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Venus, Raymond, Davenport, Harkleroad.

No sense in Serena even trying. Rest the body. She has better things to worry about. Like keeping her mouth healthy.

Give one match to Lindsay, one to Ashley. Both to Venus. Lindsay/Lisa doubles. USA wins 3-2.

The Russians aren't much better on clay.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:13 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Serena most likely won't go so Ashley may have a chance. I think she's earned a spot as well.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:24 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:27 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

Ok I know that the Russians are not much better on clay but they have enough player to make a strong clay team. I don't think they will have Maria or Anna play. Since the are best on hard, grass courts. I would think the would have Kussy Petova, and maybe Elana. Those girls are great on clay, and there is not one player that is great on clay in the US team.

I know Ree and Vee both made it to the finals of RG in 02 but the clay was slow and wet. So they where able to over power the other players but when the clay is dry. They have to have great foot work and since this will more then likely be indoors, the clay will be dry.

I don't have much hope for the US in the next tie.

As far as Ashley, she may still play, and we need our best foot first. So if she dose well at the start of the clay season. She should play.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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Re: U.S. hero Harkleroad faces Fed Cup axe

had Ashely lost her matches this week i'm sure we would be way less to support her nomination for the tie against Russia.
it's not like it's tommorow.

Lindsay playing horrendous lately is definitely a sign that locking her spot wouldn't be too wise, especially on clay.

but i trust her abilities more than Ashley's and if she get in any kind of decent form even on clay, she has to be given the edge.

i'd say wait & see.
maybe we won't even have to think about it with usa toppies not showing up.

nice reaction, Ashley, God knows she helped the team this past week.

to new beginnings.
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