Asheville Fed Cup Hot Sheet: Venus Williams wins big Saturday

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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First round action of the 2018 Fed Cup in Asheville on Saturday saw Team USA star Venus Williams win in her 1,000th career singles match, while teammate CoCo Vandeweghe battled back to win her match. (Photo courtesy USTA.) Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

Singles A: Venus Williams (USA) def. Arantxa Rus (NED), 6-1, 6-4
Singles B: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) def. Richel Hogenkamp (NED), 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3

Sunday, match play starts at 1 p.m.
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)

-Venus Williams was the story of the day on Saturday. The former world No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam women’s singles champion Williams defeated world No. 124 Arantxa Rus, 6-1, 6-4, in one hour and 21 minutes.

-Williams, who is ranked No. 8 in the world, was competing in her first Fed Cup tie since February 2016 and now holds a 20-2 record in singles, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, and Lindsay Davenport as the only U.S. players to win 20 or more singles matches in Fed Cup history.

-In the second singles match on Saturday, world No. 17 and 2017 US Open and Australian Open semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe fought through a three-set match against world No. 108 Richel Hogenkamp. After dropping the first set and then trailing, 3-0, in the second set, Vandeweghe battled back to defeat Hogenkamp, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

-Vandeweghe has now won 13 consecutive Fed Cup singles and doubles matches, first starting in the 2016 World Group II First Round. She made Fed Cup history last year by going 8-0 in singles and doubles play over the course of the year to lead the U.S. team to its championship.

-Attendance for Saturday’s Fed Cup matches at the U.S. Cellular Center was 5,208.

-The first match on Sunday will pit American No. 1 Venus Williams against Dutch No. 1 Richel Hogenkamp. Williams and Hogenkamp have never played previously. Both are experienced Fed Cup players with Williams competing in her 13th Fed Cup tie and Hogenkamp competing in her 22nd tie.

-The day’s second singles match is scheduled between No. 2s CoCo Vandeweghe and Arantxa Rus. Vandeweghe met once before, in 2011, in qualifying in the grass-court event in the Netherlands. Rus won that match, 6-4, 6-4.

Here are a few highlights from the press conference following Saturday’s play, featuring Venus Williams’ answers:

Q: You made your Fed Cup debut in 1999. Today you played your one thousandth career match. Speak to your longevity, what a milestone like this means to you.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don’t really know about these milestones when they happen. It’s just great to be playing the game that I love. Not really going for milestones, but then they happen.

Q: Can you speak about the first set, those two breaks of serve in the middle, how that maybe
impacted the flow of the match.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely made the match a lot more competitive. That’s what we’re here for, is to compete. The game’s not over till it’s over. There were a lot of games I thought, Oh, I have this game, then she stepped it up. Sometimes I didn’t play the best shot, she would play a great shot. It kept the game close.

Q: After the match you talked about how great the match was in Asheville. Talk about the

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt proud. Also you don’t want to let this crowd down, you don’t want to let your country down. That definitely adds to the pressure. As players, we’re not used to playing in a team atmosphere, so it definitely puts a lot more pressure, not only for of course our team but their team as well.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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