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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Tennis

Serena pulls US level with Sweden in Fed Cup
AP
Delray Beach, Florida , April 21, 2013
First Published: 08:23 IST(21/4/2013)
Last Updated: 10:03 IST(21/4/2013)

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 Center.

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.

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 United States are 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.


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