Women’s World Number 3 Simona Halep and peers Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens will be the top stars to watch out for at the play-offs for the Billie Jean Cup by BNP Paribas on April 16 and 17.
While the two-time Grand Slam winning Romanian will lead her country’s bid to secure passage to the Billie Jean Cup (formerly the Fed Cup) qualifiers in 2022, fifth-ranked Svitolina and current World No.10 Bertens will hope to do likewise for Ukraine and the Netherlands.
Simona Halep will lead Romania’s bid to seal a spot in Fed Cup qualifiers in play-offs against Italy
The trio will be the leading names across 16 teams that will battle for the qualifiers of the prestigious event, which was rebranded in September last year after the legendary 12-time Grand Slam champion. Of the eight-weekend play-off fixtures, seven will be staged in Europe and the remaining one in Argentina.
Romanian tennis star Monica Niculescu has been named the country’s player-captain going into the play-off clash against Italy. She is only the 12th woman to lead a country in the playoffs of the highly-prized event.
The Romanian contingent would be hoping to leverage Halep’s incredible run of success in the tournament.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has not lost a singles tie in the tournament since going down to veteran German Angelique Kerber in 2016, and her country would dearly hope that she continues her eight-match unbeaten streak in singles this year.
Niculescu, it is understood, will only play doubles if required.
The other names in the Romanian squad apart from Halep and herself are Patricia Maria Tig, Irina Maria Bara, and Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Elina Svitolina will feature in the first Fed Cup matches in homeland Ukraine against Japan
For Svitolina, who was recently engaged to veteran French tennis star Gael Monfils, the play-offs against Japan would mark the first time since 2017 that she leads out her troops on home soil.
The matches will be played at Chornomorsk, Ukraine.