Serena and Venus Williams came through for the United States in their singles tennis victories at Sunday’s Fed Cup World Cup Playoff in Delray Beach, Florida. Thanks to their efforts, the US is now guaranteed a spot in the 2014 Fed Cup World Group, and rival Sweden will have to play 2014 Group II.
World No. One ranked women’s tennis great Serena Williams first brought the US to a 2-1 lead when she easily defeated 54th ranked Sofia Arvidsson.
However, 21st ranked (and former No. One) Venus Williams is the sister who sealed the deal with with her victory over Johanna Larsson. She had to struggle through twelve games but ultimately collected the eight match points required for the win over Larsson, Sweden’s top-ranked women’s tennis player.
The 3-1 lead now held by the US was insurmountable by further play. It’s worth noting that seven time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was put into play at the last minute after US captain Mary Joe Fernandez pulled 20-year-old Sloane Stephens. Fernandez acknowledged that it was a tough decision to yank Stephens after an error-filled previous showing.
The Fed Cup is one of the leading events in world tennis, with more than 80 nations in competition this year. Their organizations say that it’s the single largest international team competition in any women’s sport, with around $2.7 million available this year in compensation to participating nations.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 19, 2013
Only the top eight nations are selected to start in Group I. US qualification came into doubt when Italy earlier won a 3-2 victory. Italy’s players, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, are the No. One doubles tennis team in the world, according to a Fed Cup press release. However, at one point, US player Varvara Lepchenko almost caused an upset when she won both of her singles matches against Errani and Vinci.
Ultimately, though, Italy triumphed, and they too will be met again in the Group I.
Thanks to Serena and Venus Williams, the US has averted being dropped back into the World Group II.