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Venus Williams helps USA clinch Fed Cup win over Netherlands

The Czech Republic will be looking to its double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Fed Cup World Group opener against Switzerland in Prague

Williams will make her competitive return on Sunday, scheduled to play doubles for the United States against Netherlands in the Fed Cup. Hogenkamp showed no signs of fatigue after her loss to Coco Vandeweghe on Saturday, and showed off her soft touch with a number of drop shots that kept Williams scrambling.

"I'd probably chalk it up to rust", said Vandewegh, who is ranked 17th. "I was playing more aggressive and I had some chances".

Serena Williams has spoken out about the "ups and downs" she faced during her year away from competitive tennis but insists she's now focused and ready for her quest to once more dominate her sport.

Serena Williams, who was already expecting daughter Alexis Olympia when she won her 23rd Gand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open, is slated to play doubles on Sunday with Lauren Davis.

If the USA wins its first singles match Sunday to clinch the victory in this best-of-5 event, Sunday's second singles match would be scrapped but the doubles match would still go on.

Sunday's scheduled singles matches have Venus Serena facing Hogerkamp and Vandeweghe taking on Russian Federation.

Before the doubles match started, the USA team celebrated its triumph over the Netherlands. "We'll sit down and make that decision looking forward".

After racing through the opening set, Williams was made to work in the second where the first five games all ended in service breaks. They held serve the rest of the way as Williams improved her overall Fed Cup singles record to 20-2.

Hogenkamp had a break-point opportunity that would have put her ahead 6-5 in the first set before Williams won the final seven points of the set.

"I thought maybe a few of my balls were flying a little bit", Williams said. "It gave me a lot of pressure for me to close it out and a lot of pressure for her to stay in and I just handled it a little better".

After having her serve broken early in the second set, Vandeweghe tossed her racket onto the hard-court surface, picked it up and slammed it near the net, then headed to her chair and slammed her racket again.

"Honestly, I don't really know about these milestones", she said. "She's not beating me in long rallies, so let's just run and grind and see what happens".

Then, she came back to play the dead rubber with her sister Serena, in her first match since giving birth to her first child.

After Belgium took a lead on a 6-2, 6-1 win by Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens against Pauline Parmentier, France's Kristina Mladenovic answered with a 6-2, 6-1 rout of Kirsten Flipkens.

The 36-year-old has not competed in a Fed Cup tie since April 2015 but felt the event was as good as any to start her comeback under the leadership of US captain Kathy Rinaldi.