WTA Tour

Kvitova into Fed Cup semis, Serena poised for return

2018-02-11 20:53
Petra Kvitova (AP)

Paris - Petra Kvitova led the Czech Republic into a 10th successive Fed Cup semi-final on Sunday as Serena Williams was poised to make her long-awaited return to the sport she has dominated.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, playing in her first Fed Cup tie since she was attacked by a knife-wielding burglar at her home in December 2016, eased past Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-4 to give the Czechs an unassailable 3-0 lead over Switzerland in Prague.

Kvitova, 27, had already won her opening singles on Saturday, beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

"I'm very happy, I was very calm, relaxed throughout the match. I played a great match, I didn't lose my serve once," said Kvitova who announced her return to form with the St Petersburg WTA title last weekend.

"I didn't expect to stand in for Karolina (Pliskova, down with flu), but it was way above my expectations."

The Czechs, who have won the Fed Cup 10 times, will face either 2017 runners-up Belarus at home in April's semi-finals, or travel to Germany.

In Minsk, the Belarus against Germany tie was being decided in the doubles after Tatjana Maria downed Vera Lapko 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 and home player Aryna Sabalenka defeated Antonia Lottner 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 to make the score 2-2.

In La Roche sur Yon, the tie between France and Belgium was also going down to the wire after French No 1 Kristina Mladenovic beat Australian Open semi-finalist Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-4 before Alison Van Uytvanck eased past Pauline Parmentier 6-1, 6-3 to pull the hosts level.

Later Sunday, Serena Williams is expected to play her first competitive match since winning her 23rd Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open when she features in doubles for defending champions United States against the Netherlands.

Williams took a year out to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia and is expected to play alongside Lauren Davis in the doubles of the tie being played in Asheville, North Carolina.

The US led 2-0 overnight after Venus Williams brushed aside 124th-ranked Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-4 and CoCo Vandeweghe battled past Richel Hogenkamp 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.

Venus' win came in her 1 000th career match and her 22nd singles appearance in a tournament she first played in 1999.

Results from the second day of Fed Cup World Group ties on Sunday:

In Minsk

Belarus 2 Germany 2

Tatjana Maria (GER) bt Vera Lapko (BLR) 6-4, 5-7, 6-0

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt Antonia Lottner (GER) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2

Followed by

Aryna Sabalenka/Lidziya Marozava (BLR) v Tatjana Maria/Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)

Played Saturday

Antonia Lottner (GER) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5, 6-4

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2

In Prague

Czech Republic 3 Switzerland 1

Petra Kvitova (CZE) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2, 6-4

Timea Bacsinszky/Jil Teichmann (SUI) bt Lucie Safarova/Barbora Strycova (CZE) 1-6, 6-4, 10/8

Barbora Strycova (CZE) v Viktorija Golubic (SUI) -- not played

Played Saturday

Petra Kvitova (CZE) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3

Barbora Strycova (CZE) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2, 6-4

In La Roche sur Yon

Belgium 2 France 2

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-4, 6-4

Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-1, 6-3

Followed by

Kristina Mladenovic/Amandine Hesse (FRA) v Kirsten Flipkens/Elise Mertens (BEL)

Played Saturday

Elise Mertens (BEL) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-2, 6-1

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-2, 6-4

In Asheville, United States

United States 2 Netherlands 0

Venus Williams (USA) v Richel Hogenkamp (NED)

Arantxa Rus (NED) v Coco Vandeweghe (USA)

Lauren Davis/Serena Williams (USA) v Lesley Kerkove/Demi Schuurs (NED)

Played Saturday

Venus Williams (USA) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1, 6-4

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

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