Tennis: Britain facing US test

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GREAT BRITAIN, led by Jo Durie, face the daunting prospect of a first-round match against the United States, last year's runners-up, when the Federation Cup gets under way in Frankfurt today.

Durie is accompanied by Monique Javer, Sara Gomer and Clare Wood in the 32-nation knock-out. Their opponents, who boast a record 14 tournament victories since its inception in 1963, have selected Gigi Fernandez, Lori McNeil, Pam Shriver and Debbie Graham. Jennifer Capriati and Mary Joe Fernandez have chosen to prepare instead for the Olympic Games while Martina Navratilova is one of several top players missing.

Monica Seles's Yugoslavia did not qualify, and would have been excluded anyway, while Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini has opted out. Steffi Graf, however, will lead the top-seeded German team, completed by Anke Huber, Barbara Rittner and Sabine Hack.

Spain, the second seeds, feature Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez, while the third seeds Czechoslovakia are led by Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova. South Africa, winners in 1972, are back in the tournament for the first time since 1977.

FEDERATION CUP (Frankfurt) First-round ties (seeds in brackets): Today: Germany (1) v New Zealand; Paraguay v Netherlands; Poland v Israel; Sweden v Switzerland (7); France (4) v China; Japan v Finland; Denmark v Chile; Britain v United States (6). Tomorrow: Bulgaria (5) v Australia; Austria v Romania; South Korea v Italy; Hungary v Czechoslovakia (3); CIS (8) v Indonesia; Argentina v Mexico; Canada v South Africa; Belgium v Spain (2).