Fed Cup: 10th straight SFs for Czechs; Serena returns for US

Fed Cup: 10th straight SFs for Czechs; Serena returns for US

It was, however, a dead rubber as the U.S. had already won the tie 3-1, after Venus and Coco Vandeweghe won their respective singles rubbers. "We were pretty tight in the first few games of each set and then when I got the break I felt a little bit better". "That gave me an opportunity to be able to close it out for the United States of America", she said."There was a lot of pressure for me to close it out, for her to be able to stay in, and I was able to handle it a little better", she added.

The United States team will travel to France for the semi-finals in April after the French progressed to the last four for the third time in four years courtesy of a 3-2 win over Belgium.

In Minsk, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Maria beat Lidziya Marozava and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the deciding doubles rubber to put twice champions Germany into the semis for the first time since 2015.Germany will next face the Czech Republic.

Czech captain Petr Pala expects Germany to call up former world No. 1 and two-time major victor Angelique Kerber as well as Julia Georges - both top 10 players - for the semifinal. And although she and her sister, Venus, fell short during the doubles match, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands, Serena appeared to be all smiles, thanks to her support system.

Williams had set herself an ambitious comeback target of defending her Australian Open crown in January, but decided she was not quite feeling up to it a week before the tournament began.

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"I honestly feel better than I thought I was going to feel", Serena told ESPN of her return to the court.

The 36-year-old American took time away from the sport to give birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia and get married, to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Venus Williams is ranked No. 8 in the world, while Serena remains unlisted in the WTA rankings.

Serena showed glimpses of both her prowess and rust during the 6-2. "Even though they didn't go in, it's just the start, I feel like that's a very good step in the right direction".