Fed Cup: USA lead over Belgium

The USA took a 2-0 lead against Belgium in their Fed Cup first round World Group 1 tie in Florida.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams gave the USA a 2-0 lead against Belgium in their Fed Cup first round World Group 1 tie in Florida on Saturday. Belgium were playing the tournament without Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. The former world number ones declined the invitation to represent their country in this year's competition, instead choosing to focus on Grand Slam events. For the USA, Serena Williams was ruled out with an ankle injury and replaced by older sister Venus in the singles. In control The opening rubber looked, on paper, to be something of a mismatch - world number one Lindsay Davenport against world number 392 Evelyne van Hyfte. The 21-year-old Van Hyfte had not played a WTA Tour level match previously this year, and had never faced anyone ranked higher than 180 in the world before Davenport. Davenport completed a 6-0, 6-2 win, and the opening set took just 13 minutes. She broke again at love to begin the second set. Van Hyfte managed to find a little resistance midway through the second set, but Davenport was always in control. The three-time Grand Slam champion duly sealed victory in only 39 minutes, for her 22nd consecutive win in the Fed Cup. Easy win Venus Williams took on Els Callens in the day's second singles rubber. At 175 in the world, Callens is the highest ranked of Belgium's team. But Williams had little trouble in dispatching her opponent, winning 6-2, 6-2 in 54 minutes. Williams overcame five double-faults by breaking Callens five times in the match. The United States are looking for a record 18th Fed Cup title, although they have not won it since 2000. Davenport can close out the tie with a win over Callens. The USA will face either Italy or defending champions Russia in the semi-finals. (AP)