Fed Cup Qualifiers Day 1 Preview: Kenin,Williams and Osaka all in singles action
The Fed Cup qualifiers kick off today with a lot of enticing matchups already set quite early in the inaugural event.
Each country is fighting for a spot in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, Hungary. The event will be held in April 2020, for which the Czech Republic, Australia, France and host nation Hungary have already qualified.
The United States are the top seeds for this event, and they will feature recent Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin as she takes on Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in the first rubber match. This will be followed by 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams taking on 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Belarus is the No.2 seed, and they have World No.13 Aryna Sabalenka taking on Arantxa Rus, who will be representing the Netherlands. Dutch No. 1 Kiki Bertens also faces Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the other rubber match.
Romania will be without Simona Halep as Elena Gabriela and Ana Bogdan face Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova and Veronika Kudermetova respectively.
Team Germany will have veteran Laura Siegemund taking on Brazil's Teliana Pereira, while German Tatjana Maria faces Brazilian Gabriela Ce.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka will lead Japan as they take on Spain. Osaka will face Sara Sorribes Tormo while Misaki Doi clashes with Carla Suarez Navarro in her final Fed Cup appearance. The journeywoman plans to retire by the end of the 2020 season.
Belinda Bencic will face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard as Switzerland takes on Canada. Accompanying Bencic will be Jil Teichmann, who will battle Canadian youngster Leylah Annie Fernandez.
Belgium hosts Kazakhstan as World No.19 Elise Mertens takes on Zarina Diyas, while Yulia Putintseva plays Ysaline Bonaventure.
Finally, Team Great Britain travels to Slovakia as Heather Watson faces Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Harriet Dart battles Viktoria Kuzmova.