U.S. draws Italy for Fed Cup playoff

White Plains, NY ( - The United States will have to defeat Italy in April in order to return to the World Group of the Fed Cup in 2016.

The Americans and Italians were drawn for a World Group playoff from April 18-19.

Paced by Serena and Venus Williams, the U.S. handled host Argentina 4-1 in a World Group II affair in Buenos Aires last week to advance to the playoff round.

Italy, meanwhile, blew a 2-0 lead and lost to visiting France, 3-2, in Genoa in a World Group quarterfinal last weekend.

The Italians have dominated their recent meetings with the U.S., winning the 2009 and 2010 finals, and first-round ties in 2013 and last year. The Americans still lead the overall series, 9-4.

The Americans own a record 17 Fed Cup titles, but none since 2000.