Venus leads the U.S. to Fed Cup victory over Argentina

February 8, 2015 06:08 PM

By E.J. Crawford,

The formula has undone the U.S. in world team play before: a road trip to another continent, to be played on red clay in front of a partisan crowd. Of course, those teams didn’t have Venus Williams.

The elder Williams sister continued her stellar play in Fed Cup with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Argentina’s Maria Irigoyen, clinching the World Group II first-round tie for the U.S. and delivering the Americans into the 2015 World Group Play-offs, 4-1, over the Argentines.

With her victory, wrapped up in a tidy 71 minutes, Venus gave the U.S. an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the tie. It was Venus’ second victory of the tie and improved her career record in Fed Cup singles play to 17-2.

Taylor Townsend and CoCo Vandeweghe teamed to win the doubles point, accounting for the final 4-1 margin in favor of the U.S.

“It has been a great week," Venus said afterward. "We all taught each other something on the court. Fed Cup is one of the only times you get behind each other and play on a team. It is really refreshing to be a part of this team and we are really happy to get the win.”

The U.S. will either Australia, Canada, Italy or Poland in the 2015 World Group Play-offs, scheduled for April 18-19. A victory in the World Group Play-offs would return the Americans to the World Group for 2016, meaning they could once again contend for a Fed Cup championship. The U.S. has won a record 17 Fed Cup titles in its history and has competed in the World Group in all but two years – 2012 and 2015 – since the Fed Cup’s inception in 1963.

The U.S. took a 2-0 lead over Argentina on Day 1 behind easy victories by Venus and younger sister and world No. 1 Serena. But Vandeweghe replaced an ill Serena on Day 2 and stumbled, falling to Argentine No. 1 Paula Ormaechea, 6-4, 6-4. That set the stage for Venus to clinch the tie.

Vandeweghe, the world's No. 32 player who enjoyed a stellar 2014 and reached the third round of the 2015 Australian Open, rallied in the doubles, teaming with former junior star and current world No. 99 Taylor Townsend to defeat Tatiana Bua and Nadia Podoroska, 6-2, 6-3.

The doubles victory marked the first Fed Cup win for Vandeweghe and the first Fed Cup win and the first Fed Cup match for Townsend, a 19-year-old rising star who finished the 2013 season as the No. 1 junior in the world.

"It was exciting to be able to watch Venus clinch the tie and then have the opportunity for Coco and I to play doubles," said Townsend. "I think CoCo was happy to play again and to get a win. It was great to play out there, even if it didn’t mean as much, but it was good practice and we put a point on the board for the team.”


In its history, the U.S. is 3-2 in World Group Play-offs ties. Most recently, the U.S. defeated Sweden, 3-2, in 2013 but fell, 3-2, to France in 2014.