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USTA Names Jill Craybas and a Trio of Young Americans to Face Germany in First Round of 2006 Fed Cup By BNP Paribas

April 18, 2006 10:34 AM

The USTA and U.S. Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison today announced that Jill Craybas, Jamea Jackson, Shenay Perry and Vania King will comprise the U.S. squad that will face Germany in the first round of the 2006 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas at TC Ettenheim on red clay, April 22-23 in an outdoor stadium court that will hold 3,858 spectators.

Jackson, Perry and King -- all 21 years old or younger -- will be making their debuts for the U.S. Fed Cup team, though Jackson and King have served as practice partners in the past. Craybas has been on the team since 2004. The first of the rookies to play in this tie will become the 54th woman to represent the U.S. in Fed Cup, which began in 1963.

German Fed Cup Captain Barbara Rittner announced that her team will include world No. 15 Anna-Lena Groenefeld and No. 57 Julia Schruff, both of whom achieved their career-high rankings this week, as well as No. 111 Martina Muller and No. 123 Sandra Kloesel.

"Our rookies are eager to prove themselves and put their stamp on Fed Cup," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison. "With our top players injured, we face a tough challenge in the first round. The Germans have a strong team and we will have to be at our best to beat them."

Craybas, 31, a native of Providence, R.I., is the third highest ranked American behind Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 42 this week, after reaching the quarterfinals at Amelia Island, defeating Schruff in the third round. Last month Craybas defeated world No. 2 Kim Clijsters en route to the round of 16 at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami. The 1996 NCAA singles champion also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2005, upsetting two-time champion Serena Williams en route. Craybas made her Fed Cup debut in the 2004 quarterfinals at Austria.

Jackson, 19, of Bradenton, Fla., is currently ranked No. 83 in the world, and reached a career-high of No. 73 in October. Earlier this year, she reached the second round in her Australian Open debut, losing to No. 12 seed Anastasia Myskina. Last month, she reached the third round at the NASDAQ-100 Open, losing to world No. 7 Nadia Petrova. Jackson has not faced either of the top Germans as a professional, but she defeated Groenefeld in the final of the 2001 USTA Winter International Junior Championships to capture the biggest junior title of her career.

Perry, 21, of Coral Springs, Fla., is currently ranked No. 87 in the world. She reached a career-high No. 69 ranking in November 2004, before a right knee injury sidelined her for three months in early 2005. Earlier this year she reached the quarterfinals at Memphis, defeating Groenefeld en route, and the third round at Indian Wells. In 2005, Perry reached the third round at Wimbledon and the second round at the US Open. She last represented the United States as a member of the winning U.S. team in the 2002 Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy.

King, 17, of Long Beach, Calif., is currently ranked a career-high No. 91 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as a amateur and has improved her ranking 700 places since the beginning of 2005. She reached the semifinals at her WTA Tour debut in February at Pattaya City and the third round at Indian Wells. At the 2005 US Open she became just the third woman ever to enter qualifying as a wild card and win a main draw match, eventually losing in the second round to Nathalie Dechy. King served as a practice partner for the U.S. Fed Cup team for the 2004 First Round at Slovenia.

The United States leads the overall series with Germany in Fed Cup play, 6-4. Steffi Graf led the Germans to victory the last two times these countries met, winning the 1992 World Group semifinals and the 1987 World Group Final.

The winner advances to the semifinals and will face either Belgium or reigning Fed Cup champion Russia, July 15-16. The losing team will compete the same weekend in the World Group Play-off and attempt to retain its place in the elite eight-nation World Group for the 2007 Fed Cup.

The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles and is seeking its first since 2000. Germany won the Fed Cup in 1987 and 1992.

Fed Cup will be on tape delay at 1 p.m. ET both days on The Tennis Channel.




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