TOKYO, April 25, 2008 (AFP)
Up-and-coming Japanese teenager Ayumi Morita will face off Saturday against former world number one Amelie Mauresmo of
France for a place in next season's Fed Cup World Group.
The 18-year-old former All-Japan champion replaced Akiko Morigami, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.
In the second singles match on Saturday at Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum hard court, former doubles world number one Ai Sugiyama will play Virginie Razzano in the best-of-five contest.
"I know Morita, because she played against France last year," said French captain Georges Goven after a draw held here on Friday.
"I was expecting her because I didn't see Morigami training this week. So it's not a surprise. She's one of the up-and-coming players in Japan."
Morita said she was excited by the chance to face off against Mauresmo, whom she called one of the world's top players.
"I'm really happy that I can play against such a famous player like her in Japan. I'll just do my best," Morita said.
The French team, who surprisingly lost to China 3-2 without Mauresmo in the World Group first round in February, may benefit from number two player Razzano's victory over Venus Williams to win the Japan Open in October.
Mauresmo said she was happy with the centre court in Tokyo.
"It's a pretty fast surface. We knew that before coming, because Virginie told us about it," she said.
Sugiyama said she was surprised that she doesn't feel tired after six consecutive weeks on the tour, including two doubles victories at the Sony Ericsson Open and Family Circle Cup this month.
"Virginie's game suits Ariake and it will be a tough match. Hopefully, I can take the initiative and attack faster than they do," Sugiyama said.
After two reverse singles matches on Sunday, Sugiyama will team up with Morita against Mauresmo and Razzano in the last doubles match.

On Saturday
Ayumi Morita (JPN) vs Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)
Ai Sugiyama (JPN) vs Virginie Razzano (FRA)

On Sunday
Ai Sugiyama (JPN) vs Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)
Ayumi Morita (JPN) vs Virginie Razzano (FRA)
Ai Sugiyama/Ayumi Morita (JPN) vs Amelie Mauresmo/Virginie Razzano (FRA)



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