US Fed Cup Team Begins Title Defense with the Williams Sisters in North Carolina This Weekend Versus the Netherlands
(February 9, 2018) ASHEVILLE, N.C. -The US Fed Cup team is ready to defend its 2017 title with a first-round clash versus The Netherlands in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend.
Team USA, who won the Fed Cup in November for the first time since 2000, features Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis. The tie will take place Saturday and Sunday at the 5000-seat US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville in front of a sell-out crowd.
The 2018 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Official Draw Ceremony took place Friday afternoon, with Venus Williams and Vandeweghe named for singles duty, and Serena Williams and Davis set to pair up in doubles action. The Dutch team features Richel Hogenkamp and Arantxa Rus playing singles, while Lesley Kerkhove, and Demi Schuurs will be on doubles duty.
This tie marks the first time Venus and Serena have played Fed Cup for two years, and they last played the same tie was 2015.
Venus Williams, currently ranked 8 in the world, is set to kick off the tie against Rus, who is ranked 124th in singles. The elder Williams said she always enjoys the opportunity to play Fed Cup for the US. “It’s always an honor. It’s always a sense of pride you take on the court besides playing for yourself. It’s a completely different feeling, completely different to the circumstances.” Venus has an impressive 19-2 singles record in Fed Cup singles action, and she and Rus have never faced each other in singles.
Vandeweghe has played seven Fed Cup ties since 2010 and boasts a 7-3 singles record and 5-0 in doubles. “I like playing for my country. It’s a great honor to be chosen to represent the U.S. I think that shows in my Fed Cup play, how much I really enjoy it.” The 17th-ranked American will play Saturday against 108th ranked Hogenkamp.
No doubt the public will be disappointed not to see Serena Williams compete in singles but as the 23-time slam champion returns to women’s tennis after the birth of her daughter in September, she herself admitted this comeback could be a long process. “This is definitely the start of a long process. You have to start and I’m ready. I’m really happy to be here.”
The 62th ranked Davis, coming off an historic match against WTA No. 1 Simona Halep at the Australian Open, has played just one Fed Cup doubles match in her career (a win with Madison Keys during the 2014 World Group quarterfinals) and said she was ‘really happy I’ve been chosen to be part of the Fed Cup team with these four amazing ladies.”
Venus Williams and Rus face off on Saturday at 1pm ET, followed by Vandeweghe and Hogenkamp immediately following. The US and Dutch teams have faced of 8 times in Fed Cup play, with the US holding a 6-2 lead in ties. The two countries last played each other in 1998.
Team Captains are Kathy Rinaldi for the US, while the Dutch team is led by Paul Haarhuis.
The Netherlands team acknowledged its underdog status, but Hogenkamp said the team has been practicing hard and are ready. “I think the underdog fits us very well. We will see how it goes this weekend. We’re going to give 100% like we always do.”
ORDER OF PLAY
Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
Singles A: Venus Williams (USA) vs. Arantxa Rus (NED)
Singles B: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Singles C: Venus Williams (USA) vs. Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Singles D: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Arantxa Rus (NED)
Doubles: Serena Williams (USA) / Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Lesley Kerkhove (NED) / Demi Schuurs (NED)
Stephanie Neppl is in Asheville covering the Fed Cup tie between the US and the Netherlands for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.