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US visits France in Fed Cup quarterfinals

LIEVIN, France (AP) — Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States will play Alize Cornet of France in opening singles of the Fed Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

The draw Friday also pits Melanie Oudin of the U.S. against Pauline Parmentier in the second match on the indoor clay court at Stade Couvert Regional Lievin.

Top-ranked Serena Williams — the Australian Open champion — is not playing for the U.S. team. Her No.-5 ranked sister, Venus, is also skipping the event.

U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said Christina McHale will replace Shenay Perry.

"Due to Shenay's wrist injury, I felt it would be best to (choose) Christina," Fernandez said. "Christina has had a great week of practice."

The reverse singles will be held Sunday before the doubles match featuring Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber against Stephanie Cohen-Aloro and Julie Coin. Huber is the top-ranked doubles player along with Cara Black of Zimbabwe.

France won the 2003 Fed Cup when it defeated the United States 4-1 in the final. The French lost the 2005 final to Russia.

In other matches this weekend, Italy will open its bid to defend the Fed Cup title against Ukraine. The Czech Republic will face Germany. The winner will face Italy or Ukraine in the April 24-25 semifinal.

Serbia will meet Russia, which has won four of the last six Fed Cup titles. But the Russians will be without top players Dinara Safina, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.

The U.S.-France winner will play the winner of the Serbia-Russia match in the semifinals.