Serena positive about Fed Cup doubles loss

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The seven-time Wimbledon champion returned to competition for the first time since she went on maternity leave, at the Fed cup in North Carolina on Sunday. She hadn't played competitive tennis since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant for her 23rd career Grand Slam singles title, one off Margaret Court's record.

The loss was of no effect to the United States team, who had already won three matches in the best-of-five tie to progress to the semi-finals against France in April, but it was a useful workout for Williams as she continues to get used to parenthood.

The Dutch players' ability to soak up the pressure was all the more remarkable given that Schuurs, the younger of the pair, was just six-years-old when Serena won her first Major tournament. "I feel like that's a very good step in the right direction".

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I've been training. It's just exciting to be out there. "I honestly feel better than I thought I was gonna feel, I feel like I didn't expect to play you know like that for me".

USA will face France in the semifinal which is scheduled to take place in April. The Czechs, who have won the Fed Cup 10 times, will travel to Germany for the semi-finals in April.

Among those in the sellout crowd for the World Group first round tie at the US Cellular Arena in Asheville eager to see Serena make her competitive return to tennis was the 36-year-old American's daughter. It also marks the first time Serena has competed in a professional match since giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. back in September.

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This weekend, Williams showed she would have quite a bit of work to do in less than a month to play up to her usual standards in the desert.

"I didn't manage my time well", she said.

"To play the two Williams sisters, it's incredible because we won the match", said Kerkhove.

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