WTA Tour

Serena pulls US level

2013-04-21 09:50
Serena Williams (AP)

Delray Beach - World No 1 Serena Williams cruised past Johanna Larson 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to pull the United States level with Sweden at 1-1 in their Fed Cup World Group playoff.

The visitors had taken a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match tie when Sofia Arvidsson downed Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 on the outdoor hardcourt at Delray Beach Tennis Centre.

Arvidsson blasted three aces, hammered 28 winners and won 63 percent of her first-serve points in the two-hour match.

Stephens, who is ranked 16th in the world, had five double faults, won just 40 percent of her second serves and made 74 unforced errors.

However, a rain delay before the second singles was the only thing that could slow Williams' bid to get the tie back on level terms.

The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion subdued Larsson in 66 minutes, extending her perfect record in Fed Cup singles to 9-0.

"I just try to fight and do the best I can," said Williams, who blasted five aces and 31 winners and converted four of her five break chances.

"I'm here for the team. Even though I don't feel pressure, I'm here to give 100 percent. If I don't feel 100 percent, I'm still going to try to give that."

In Sunday's reverse singles, Williams will play Arvidsson and Stephens will take on Larsson.

The fifth rubber would be a doubles encounter with Arvidsson and Larsson teaming against the American tandem of Venus Williams and Varvara Lepchenko.

Serena and her former top-ranked sister Venus are playing Fed Cup together for the first time in 14 months.

The US team is trying to avoid relegation to World Group II after losing their 2013 first-round tie 3-2 to Italy in February.

A victory over Sweden would keep the Americans back in the World Group for 2014.

Read more on:    wta tour  |  fed cup  |  serena williams  |  tennis

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