Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Williams sisters back for Fed Cup

AGENCIES , LONDON AND CHRISTCHURCH

Back together in the national team for the first time in four years, the Williams sisters begin their quest to reclaim tennis' Fed Cup for the US this weekend.

The US has won the women's team cup a record 17 times but have not been champions since 2000 so captain Zina Garrison is delighted to have both Serena and Venus Williams in action against Belgium tomorrow and on Sunday.

The pair, along with doubles pair Lisa Raymond and Taiwanese-American Vania King, are charged with exacting revenge on Belgium, who beat the US in last year's semi-finals.

"Hopefully this will be payback and, not only that, we will have a lot of fun," Serena told the Fed Cup official Web site ahead of the first-round tie in Delray Beach, Florida.

The US should be helped by the absence from the Belgian team of world number one Justine Henin and number four Kim Clijsters.

Italy, who won the trophy for the first time last year, also have absences to help them after world group one debutantes China left out their top players Li Na and Zheng Jie.

Chinese officials said world number 17 Li and the 33rd-ranked Zheng had been omitted to help other players qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as rules required two appearances in Fed Cup to allow players to participate in the Games.

However, the International Tennis Federation said on Wednesday that players needed only to be eligible for the Fed Cup to qualify for the Olympics and did not have to play.

In other ties Russia take on Spain in Moscow and France play Japan in Limoges.

Meanwhile, Taiwan beat New Zealand 2-1 in the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania zone group B tie in Christchurch yesterday.

Chan Chin-wei beat Sacha Jones 6-4, 6-4 and Hsieh Su-wei earned a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Leanne Baker.

Baker and Di Hollands beat Hsuan Hwang and Hsu Wen-hsin 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in the doubles.

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