Venus Williams Clinches First Round Fed Cup Tie for US, Team USA Advances to SemisFebruary 12, 2018
Kastles superstar Venus Williams was in signature form this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champ clinched the third and decisive rubber for Team USA in their first round Fed Cup tie against the Netherlands on Sunday at US Cellular Arena. Williams defeated Richel Hogenkamp in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, to seal a spot in the semis for the U.S. squad.
Williams had an easier time dispatching of Hogenkamp than her teammate Coco Vandeweghe the day before. Hogenkamp pushed Vandeweghe to three sets on Saturday in the second rubber of the competition.
“Honestly, I like to think that CoCo wore her down some,” said Venus after the victory. “It gave me an opportunity to be able to close this out for the USA. It was a lot of pressure for me to close it out and a lot of pressure for her to stay in and I handled it a little bit better.”
Venus led off for the U.S. squad with a solid win over the 124th-ranked Arantxa Rus, 6-1, 6-4, to claim the first point of the tie earlier Saturday.
Against Hogenkamp, Williams got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Dutchwoman rallied to hold serve thereafter, and when she broke Venus’s serve at love in the fifth game, the dynamic of the rubber became more competitive. The games were tight, until Williams took the lead at 6-5. From that point on, the American steamrolled.
In the second set, Williams raced to a 5-1 lead with little resistance from the Dutchwoman and punctuated the victory with an explosive forehand winner to close out the match and secure the tie.
Next up, the U.S. will play France away in April for a spot in the final. France edged Belgium, 3-2, to earn their spot in the semifinals.
Great play, Venus!
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