Venus Williams And Arantxa Rus To Open Fed Cup Tie In Asheville

Venus Williams – photo: USTA/twitter

USTA Press Release, February 9, 2018

The United States Fed Cup Team comes to Asheville after winning its record 18th Fed Cup title and first title since 2000 in November in Minsk. To kick off their 2018 campaign, the United States will face the Netherlands in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round. The best-of-five match series will take place on an indoor hard court at the U.S. Cellular Center, February 10-11.

Kicking off play on Saturday will be former world No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who will face world No. 124 Arantxa Rus. Williams, who is ranked No. 8 in the world, is competing in her first Fed Cup tie since February 2016 and holds a 23-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition, including a 19-2 record in singles. She was a member of the title-winning Fed Cup team in 1999 and is playing in her 13th Fed Cup tie. Rus is playing in her 23rd tie for the Dutch and holds a 15-7 record in Fed Cup singles play. Williams and Rus have never met on the WTA Tour.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play Fed Cup many times over the years. It’s always an honor. It’s always a sense of pride you take on the court besides playing for yourself. It’s a completely different feeling, completely different to the circumstances,” Venus told.

“We’ve tried to prepare our best every time to handle that honor and that pressure. I think more than anything, we see ourselves as Americans, and that’s what we want to be able to see ourselves as. Regardless of color, I think that’s what everyone is fighting for, that one day we don’t have to see that any more.”

The second singles match on Saturday will include 2017 US Open and Australian Open semifinalist and world No. 17 CoCo Vandeweghe against world No. 108 Richel Hogenkamp. Vandeweghe made Fed Cup history last year by going 8-0 in singles and doubles play over the course of the year to lead the U.S. team to its championship. She was the first player to win eight rubbers (six singles, two doubles) in a Fed Cup year since 1995. Vandeweghe is playing in her eighth Fed Cup tie and holds a 7-3 singles record. Hogenkamp is playing in her 22nd tie for the Netherlands and holds an 8-4 singles record. Vandeweghe and Hogenkamp have never met on the WTA Tour.

Asheville will be hosting Fed Cup for the first time. The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. competed last in North Carolina in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club, as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.

The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group First Round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997. The U.S. was drawn to play away in the Netherlands for the 2018 World Group First Round when the draw took place in September 2017, but the USTA choose to exercise its right under new Fed Cup regulations to host the first-round tie. Under regulations that came into effect from the International Tennis Federation in August, the finalist nations in the 2017 Fed Cup Final (the U.S. and Belarus) were given the option of hosting their 2018 first-round ties.

The winner of this matchup will advance to the Fed Cup Semifinals, April 21-22. Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2017. The U.S. holds an overall 149-36 record in Fed Cup competition with a 40-6 record in home ties.

Order of Play

Saturday, 1 p.m.  ET
Singles A: Venus Williams (USA) vs. Arantxa Rus (NED)
Singles B: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Singles C: Venus Williams (USA) vs. Richel Hogenkamp (NED)
Singles D: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Arantxa Rus (NED)
Doubles: Serena Williams (USA) / Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Lesley Kerkhove (NED) / Demi Schuurs (NED)