Fed Cup: Venus, CoCo give US the edge

Published by Reuters

Venus WIlliams in Fed Cup action for the United States against the Netherlands; Getty Images
Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe have put the US in a dominant position in their Fed Cup World Group tie against the Netherlands.

Venus Williams gave holders United States the perfect start in their Fed Cup World Group opener against the Netherlands with victory over Arantxa Rus in her 1,000th match as a professional.

With sister Serena watching on from the sidelines after being selected for the team, the American veteran completed a routine 6-1 6-4 win to put the hosts ahead.

CoCo Vandeweghe survived a tough battle with Richel Hogenkamp to win the second singles match on Saturday 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 and give the US a 2-0 buffer.

The Czech Republic, champions in five of the past seven years, ended day one of their tie against Switzerland 2-0 ahead after Petra Kvitova beat Viktorija Golubic in three sets before Barbara Strycova eased past Belinda Bencic.

Venus Williams, 37, was a big favourite against world No.138 Rus but was still relieved to claim her 776th career win.

“It’s never easy and it’s always a challenge,” Venus said.

“On paper, today I looked like I should win but it was a battle and I’m glad to get through that.”

Twenty three-time Grand Slam champion Serena is pencilled in for doubles action.

Elsewhere, Belarus were locked at 1-1 with Germany while France and Belgium were also level going into Sunday’s action.

Elise Mertens, an Australian Open semifinalist last month, gave Belgium the lead with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Pauline Parmentier but Kristina Mladenovic beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 6-4.

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