WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will sit out the first-round Fed Cup matches between the United States and Germany.
New U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi announced her roster on Wednesday for the best-of-five series on Feb. 11-12 in Maui, Hawaii.
The Williams sisters met in the Australian Open final, with Serena winning her 23rd Grand Slam title. Serena also replaced Kerber, who was the Australian Open defending champion, at No. 1 in the WTA rankings this week.
The American team will include Australian Open singles semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, Australian Open doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Alison Riske and Shelby Rodgers.
The German roster includes Laura Siegemund, Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Carina Witthoeft.
The winning country will meet Spain or the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semifinals in April.
NEW YORK — Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the U.S. Open on Monday because she was unable to resolve a custody dispute with her infant son’s father.
The 28-year-old star from Belarus gave birth to her first child in December and she returned to the tour in June. She detailed the dispute with the boy’s father in a long Twitter post last week, saying she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York.
“I am sadly unable to compete in this year’s U.S. Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through,” Azarenka said in a statement.
In last week’s post, Azarenka wrote that she separated from Leo’s father shortly after Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10.
“As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” Azarenka wrote, “which I’m not willing to do.”
Azarenka has not played since Wimbledon, and the former No. 1 player is now ranked 204th. She was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams. Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.
Williams, who is pregnant with her first child, also will not play in this year’s U.S. Open. On the men’s side, three top-10 players have withdrawn with season-ending injuries: defending champion Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori.
MASON, Ohio (AP) Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza added another trophy in her breakthrough summer, beating Simona Halep on Sunday for her first Western & Southern Open title.
Muguruza’s 6-1, 6-0 victory in only 56 minutes extended her streak of playing deep into tournaments and denied Halep a chance to move to No. 1 in the next WTA rankings.
The Spaniard won her first title in the U.S. and her second of the year, along with Wimbledon. In three tournaments since, she has at least reached the quarterfinals.
It was a big disappointment for Halep – the third time this season that she needed one more win to move up to No. 1 and couldn’t get it. She also finished as the runner-up at Cincinnati in 2015, losing to Serena Williams.
Halep brought a lot of momentum into the final. She was feeling good and moving well after being hampered by a knee injury early in the season. The Romanian didn’t lose a set all week until Sunday, when she was never in the match.
Muguruza broke her to go up 2-0 in the first set and was in control. Halep won only 12 points in the set, which lasted 23 minutes. Muguruza broke her again to open the second set and faced only two break points all match.
When it ended, Muguruza congratulated Halep and walked around the court with her smiling face cradled in both hands, taking it all in. Then she put her hands over her heart and reached toward the applauding crowd.
The women’s bracket was missing Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Muguruza knocked off defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.