Former world number one Serena Williams returned to competitive tennis in the Fed Cup on Sunday since over a year, as she teamed with her sister Venus Williams for the US team in a double match at the Fed Cup.
Serena, who played her last competitive game on the court when she won the 2017 Australian Open, was seen back in action just five months after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, who also was watching from the stands as her mother and auntie Venus played in a dead-rubber doubles contest against Holland team.
As it turned out on Sunday, the US team had already won the tie to advance to the semi-finals, so with nothing riding on the match, the duo were beaten 6-2 6-3 by Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.
Serena Williams was quoted as saying after the game “It was really special to be back out here with Venus and we’re so happy Team USA won today”
“I’m really happy to be here and that we advanced to the next round.”
Speaking on her daughter being in Asheville to witness her mother’s first match, she said: “It’s her first match so I’m glad she got to see it.”
Venus earlier beat Richel Hogenkamp in her 1,000th professional singles match to send the US into an unassailable 3-0 lead, while the singles rubber between CoCo Vandeweghe and Arantxa Rus was not played.
The United States team will travel to face France in April for the next round after the French side progressed to the semi finals for an incredible third time in four years after seeing a 3-2 win over Belgium team.
Kristina Mladenovic won all three of her matches, including the decisive doubles contest alongside Amandine Hesse, with the duo beating Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens 6-4 2-6 6-2.
From other games to feature in the semi finals, Czech Republic Petra Kvitova saw off Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic on Sunday, in a 6-2 6-4 straight sets victory to put her country in the semi-finals for the 10th successive year.
Germany’s also progressed to the semi finals after Tatjana Maria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld came from a set down in their trilling doubles match to win the tie against Belarus.
Czech Republic will face now face Germany in the semi final to cook up a final.
36-year-old Serena Williams had already postponed her return this year, missing the Australian Open in January to give her more time to recover from the birth.
She had revealed she was bedridden for six weeks and had to have surgery after her daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean section.