February 25, 2018

Kvitova sends Czechs into Fed Cup semis; United States prevail

12 February 2018, 12:49 | Darnell Patrick

Fed Cup- Draws Serena Williams won't play singles! 9 Feb 2018  View 562 by Gatto Luigi

Fed Cup- Draws Serena Williams won't play singles

Cheered on by her younger sister Serena, who is poised to make her own comeback to the sport after a year away and the birth of her daughter, seven-time Grand Slam victor Venus made relatively light work of 124th-ranked Arantxa Rus, winning 6-1, 6-4.

Sunday's Fed Cup action features the return of Serena Williams after more than a year away from the game while becoming a mother.

Venus Williams earned victory in her 1,000th professional singles match to get the defending Fed Cup champions United States off to a winning start in their World Group first round tie against The Netherlands.

With yet another break in hand, Williams served for the tie up 5-1, and had a drama-free hold to give the U.S. a 3-0 win over the Netherlands to make the Fed Cup semifinals.

"I don't really know about these milestones when they happen", she said. Hogenkamp spent two hours and 36 minutes on court in her encounter with Vandeweghe on Saturday when she was two points from winning at 6-6 in the second set tiebreaker.

Sunday's scheduled singles matches have Venus Serena facing Hogerkamp and Vandeweghe taking on Russian Federation.

The former world number one, who has not played in more than a year following pregnancy and the birth of her daughter, will partner Lauren Davis in tomorrow's fifth rubber against Dutch duo Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.

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Williams and Rus exchanged service breaks in the first five games of the second set, with Williams grabbing a 3-2 lead. Serena saved break points on her serve, including a wonderful volley lob victor from her knees by Venus, before holding out in the beginning of the second set and keeping this rubber in the balance.

Earlier in the day, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic made a tearful return to the Fed Cup, admitting her team's 2-0 lead over Switzerland in Prague had been inspired by a moving tribute to fellow All England Club champion Jana Novotna.

A loud crowd willed Williams to get back on top, but it was the American who got down a break point at 5-5 after hitting a double fault.

"I thought maybe a few of my balls were flying a little bit", Williams said. Serena, on the flip side, held in all but one service game as she showed glimpses of her fantastic serve and groundstrokes. Every day, I get better and I get stronger. I think that created some opportunities in the second set, too.

She had initially targeted last month's Australian Open crown for a defence of her 2017 crown, but abandoned that goal after declaring she was not "where I personally want to be".

After Belgium took a lead on a 6-2, 6-1 win by Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens against Pauline Parmentier, France's Kristina Mladenovic answered with a 6-2, 6-1 rout of Kirsten Flipkens. "Sometimes it looked like they were about to go out, but they landed in so I was lucky".

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