ABANDA TO OPEN FED CUP BY BNP PARIBAS TIE

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Quebec City, February 5, 2016 – The official draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first-round tie between Canada and Belarus took place Friday at Hilton Quebec in Quebec City. The tie will be played at PEPS on the campus of Laval University from February 6-7, 2016.  

The Canadian Fed Cup team featuring Francoise Abanda (Montreal), Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa), Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, Que.) and Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, Ont.) will take on Belarus in two singles matches on Saturday, and two singles and one doubles match on Sunday. Canadian Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau will helm the squad as it readies to compete in the eight-team World Group II for the second time in three years.

Belarus made a roster change prior to the draw, replacing two-time Slam champion Victoria Azarenka with 17-year-old junior Nika Shytkouskaya.  

Abanda and Wozniak were selected by Bruneau to play singles, with Belarusian team captain Eduard Dubrou nominating world No. 74 Olga Govortsova and No. 99 Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Abanda, who is celebrating her 19th birthday Friday, will be playing in her third Fed Cup tie, while veteran Wozniak will be suiting up for her 49th and 50th Fed Cup matches. The doubles teams will be Gabriela Dabrowski and Fed Cup rookie Carol Zhao for Canada and Govortsova and Vera Lapko for Belarus.

Today’s draw produced the following weekend match-ups:

Event Representing Canada Representing Belarus
1st Singles Rubber – Saturday February 6, 12 p.m. ET Francoise Abanda Aliaksandra Sasnovich
2nd Singles Rubber – Saturday February 6 Aleksandra Wozniak Olga Govortsova
3rd Singles Rubber – Sunday, February 7, 12 p.m. ET Francoise Abanda Olga Govortsova
4th Singles Rubber – Sunday, February 7 Aleksandra Wozniak Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Doubles Rubber – Sunday, February 7 Gabriela Dabrowski/Carol Zhao Olga Govortsova/Vera Lapko

“With or without Victoria Azarenka, Belarus is a strong opponent with players who have been competing very well recently, so we have been preparing all week to take on the team as a whole,” Bruneau said. “It is going to be a tough tie for sure, but we always enjoy playing in front of Canadian fans and we definitely feel at home here in Quebec City. The team is ready to go out and play, and we will do everything we can to give ourselves a chance to make it back to World Group.”

After making its World Group debut last year, Canada is participating in World Group II for the fourth time in its history since the current format of Fed Cup was introduced in 2005. Belarus is playing in World Group II for only the second time and first since 2012 after defeating Japan in the World Group II play-offs last April. The Belarusians have yet to compete in World Group. The winner of this tie will advance into the World Group play-offs for the opportunity to advance into the upper echelon of Fed Cup play, while the loser will need to contest a World Group II play-off to avoid relegation into the zonal groups in 2017.
 
Play will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 6 with two singles matches. On Sunday, February 7, the third singles match will also commence at 12 p.m. ET with the fourth singles rubber and doubles duel to follow. All matches will be best-of-three sets.

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