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Family affair as Serena makes long-awaited return

AFP  |  Asheville (United States) 

made her long-awaited comeback to alongside elder sister after the sealed a decisive victory over the in their defence of

It is Serena's first competitive match since winning her 23rd Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open, and the first time the sisters have played doubles together in this tournament since 2003.

The 36-year-old American took time away from the sport to give birth to her daughter and get married, to


Both have been in attendance over the weekend, seated just behind the players' box.

Serena told reporters on Friday that her path back had been full of "ups and downs" but credited her sister with helping her find her rhythm.

There had been speculation she may drop out of yesterday's doubles match, against and Demi Schuurs, after Serena was the only US to not attend practice in the morning.

But confirmed her participation after sister won her singles match against Richel Hogenkamp earlier to seal victory for the United States, 3-0.

"Serena's gonna be joining her sister Venus!" she announced, to roars of approval before the superstar appeared dressed in a white top, dark blue shorts topped off with a red headband.

The sisters have won 22 doubles titles together, the last of which was in 2016.

Their pairing for the to be a final, feel-good victory lap for the Americans.

They have enjoyed enormous support from a sold-out 5,200 -strong crowd in the mountainous city of Asheville, North Carolina, famous for its historic architecture, breweries and vibrant art scene.

Venus' participation meant there was no room for Lauren Davis, the US' fourth

The seven-time Grand Slam winner, who enjoyed a renaissance year in 2017, earlier shook off a scratchy start to prevail 7-5, 6-1 in her singles match, ensuring the US booked their place in the semi-finals against

credited teammate CoCo Vandeweghe, who scored a hard fought win over Hogenkamp the day before, for paving the way.

"Honestly I like to think CoCo wore her down some. That gave me an opportunity to be able to close it out for the USA," she said.

"There was a lot of pressure for me to close it out, for her to be able to stay in, and I was able to handle it a little better," she added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 09:30 IST
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