Venus Seals Fed Cup Win, Ready To Join Serena In Doubles

US Fed Cup Team Begins Title Defense with the Williams Sisters in North Carolina This Weekend Versus the Netherlands

The 36-year-old superstar has not played a competitive match since winning the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open last year, where she was in the early stages of pregnancy.

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.

Petra Kvitova made a tearful return to the Fed Cup on Saturday as she helped 10-time champions Czech Republic into a 2-0 lead over Switzerland in Prague with the two-time Wimbledon victor admitting her team had been inspired by a moving tribute to fellow All England Club champion Jana Novotna.

"Honestly, I don't really know about these milestones", she said.

'Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams, she told Vogue in an interview last month. "It was a good game from both of us but I wasn't so nervous as yesterday".

"I've been able to really rely on her for that", she added.

It was a memorable return to the Fed Cup for Kvitova after she was injured in a knife attack at her home in December 2016.

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The tie opens with two singles rubbers on Saturday followed by reverse singles on Sunday, with doubles as the fifth rubber if required. In Saturday's first match, Venus Williams broke Rus five straight times to overcome a shaky serve.

Serena Williams dealt with serious health issues after giving birth to her daughter in September last year and the former world No. 1 on Friday said that her status for this year's remaining Grand Slams remains up in the air. I started playing better in the second set.

"Roger Federer is a really great tennis player", Williams said of the Swiss great. Williams and Rus exchanged service breaks in the first five games of the second set, with Williams grabbing a 3-2 lead.

"I was trying to find the balance between going big and going too big. She's not beating me in long rallies, so let's just run and grind and see what happens".

"Actually, I think having a baby might help". "I haven't played a competitive match in quite a few weeks, so I'm definitely not going to be ideal out there, no matter how much I'd like myself to be".

"I think the underdog (tag) fits us very well", said Dutch captain Paul Haarhuis. CoCo Vandeweghe of the USA faces Richel Hogenkamp in the second singles match of this best-of-five series. She will also be a ball girl during the matches this weekend and carry the Netherlands flag onto the court before the match.

Serena' daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was born Sept.1.

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