Posted February 03, 2013 on AP on Fox

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Melanie Oudin of the United States returns a shot against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during day ten of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Sloane Stephens is pulling out of the US Fed Cup team's upcoming first-round matches against Italy because of a strained abdominal muscle. Melanie Oudin replaces Stephens on the US roster for the Feb. 9-10 matches on indoor red clay at Rimini, Italy. Stephens, currently ranked a career-high 17th, was hurt during her run to the Australian Open semifinals last month. She says she's ''terribly disappointed'' to miss the Fed Cup. Oudin, a 2009 US Open quarterfinalist, joins Fed Cup rookies Varvara Lepchenko and Jamie Hampton, plus doubles specialist Liezel Huber. The highest-ranked American, Serena Williams, hurt her back in a quarterfinal loss to Stephens in Melbourne. Italy is expected to be led by Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
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