Vandeweghe, Venus Williams stake U.S. to Fed Cup lead


Coco Vandeweghe, who led the United States to its first Fed Cup championship since 2000 previous year, then took the court against Richel Hogenkamp, ranked 108th in singles.

Earlier Venus Williams had given holders US the flawless start with a 6-1 6-4 defeat of Arantxa Rus.

Williams is not set to take part in the Fed Cup singles this weekend, with her sister Venus and CoCo Vandeweghe scheduled to play both rubbers, with Richel Hogenkamp and Arantxa Rus doing likewise for Holland.

Williams had initially targeted last month's Australian Open for a comeback, but abandoned that ambitious goal after declaring she was not "where I personally want to be".

In the second singles, Vandeweghe rallied from a set down, winning the second in tense tie-breaker before finding her range against Richel Hogenkamp in a 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory.

After not offering Rus a break point opportunity in the first set, Williams was broken twice in the second. "Also because you play against such a great player", said the 27-year-old.

Sabalenka combined with Lidziya Marozava for the first time, and they faced Maria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who hadn't played Fed Cup doubles since 2011 but had a 3-2 record.

Venus won two of the USA's three matches over the weekend, as the US team swept the Netherlands 3-0.

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"I didn't manage my time well, but I was thinking about it in the future how to manage it better", the younger Williams said. I just had to hang on. I didn't take them.

Kvitova, who won the St. Petersburg Open in Russian Federation earlier this month, was a member of the Czech team that won five of the last seven Fed Cups. The team also reached the last 4 in 2016, defeating Russian Federation in the first round before falling to France in the semifinals. She had six double-faults, many at inopportune times.

After holding serve in the second game of the match, Rus wouldn't win her serve again until she already had lost the first set and was down a break in the second. The clash turned into a show of mental fragility.

Her Dutch opponent was unable to hold her own and later admitted she had let her nerves get to her as the first set slipped away.

Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final January 28, 2017 at the Australian Open. She hit 29 winners to just 13 for Hogenkamp. When the American needed her serve, power and mind to all work, she found enough resources to forget the Australian Open disappointment and seal the victory.

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

"We're the underdog by far, that won't change if they bring in five new players, we're still the underdog, but we still have to believe that it can be possible".