Monday, 25 June, 2018

Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe give U.S. 2-0 lead in Fed Cup

Feb 11 2018 Asheville NC USA;Coco Vandeweghe, Team Captain Kathy Rinaldi Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Lauren Feb 11 2018 Asheville NC USA;Coco Vandeweghe, Team Captain Kathy Rinaldi Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Lauren
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 04:34

American Serena Williams was drawn on Friday to play doubles in a potentially decisive fifth rubber in this week's Fed Cup first round tie against the Netherlands in what will be her first competitive match in over a year. Serena later revealed she was pregnant during that tournament.

"We'll decide tonight", USA captain Kathy Rinaldi said after Saturday's matches.

Earlier Sunday, Venus Williams defeated Richel Hogenkamp 7-5, 6-1 to give the US a decisive 3-0 lead, with the scheduled singles match between CoCo Vandeweghe and Arantxa Rus scrapped. "It's a quick turnaround after having her first child".

Set two proved a completely different story.

In the first set, Hogenkamp won four straight games from 4-2 as Vandeweghe took advantage of the one break point she had, but looked too unsteady to hold. Williams then saved a break point to pull ahead 4-2.

She is now one title short of matching Court's all-time record for Slam singles titles of 24 - a mark she is determined to better. In the ninth meeting between these two nations, their first in 20 years, the American hoped to repeat the emphatic 5-0 victory they clinched the last time the nations met, in a 1998 World Group first round tie in Kiawah Island, SC, USA also won the only previous hardcourt tie in the 1972 World Group quarterfinals in Johannesburg. She's very professional and she has a lot of pride for playing for her country.

'It's definitely the start of a long process, ' Serena told the Associated Press of her comeback.

Both were in attendance over the weekend, seated just behind the players' box.

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'She enjoys Fed Cup, and Serena and Venus have been extremely supportive, and it happened to be a good fit.

The 36-year-old added of her future ambitions: "I have long-term goals obviously, but right now my main goal is just to stay in the moment".

"I didn't manage my time well", she said.

Rinaldi did not rule out the chance of Williams playing singles on Sunday, saying only that adjustments to the current lineup, if any, would only be made after Saturday's action. I tried to move her, I tried to attack the second serve.

"Honestly I like to think CoCo wore her down some". I had a few breakpoints. I want them, but I don't need them. "Against that kind of player, you have to take your chances".

That finally broke Hogenkamp's poise, as the Dutchwoman faded in the third set and Vandeweghe won 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Vandewegh turned things around from there and overcame 12 double-faults to continue her recent Fed Cup success. The 27-year-old Kvitova, who triumphed at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, secured the win against Bencic on her first match point. Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus opened with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tatjana Maria, but Germany's Antonia Lottner dispatched Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6, 6-4.

Vandeweghe fought back to serve for the second set at 5-4 but dropped serve, and had to take it in a tiebreaker.

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