Delray Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Serena Williams topped Johanna Larsson in straight sets Saturday to even the Fed Cup playoff between the United States and Sweden after day one of the competition.
Williams' 6-2, 6-2 rain-delayed victory came after the Swedes had taken the opening match in the best-of-five tie by virtue of Sofia Arvidsson's 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 triumph over Sloane Stephens on the outdoor hardcourt at Delray Beach Tennis Center.
Sunday's reverse singles call for Williams to play Arvidsson and Stephens to take on Larsson. The fifth rubber would be a doubles encounter with Arvidsson and Larsson teaming against the American tandem of Venus Williams and Varvara Lepchenko.
Stephens committed a whopping 74 unforced errors in her match, while Serena fired 31 winners to only nine for Larsson in the second match.
The reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion and world No. 1 Serena and the former top-ranked Venus are playing Fed Cup together for the first time in 14 months. Serena is a perfect 9-0 in her lifetime Fed Cup singles affairs, while Venus is 4-2 in her doubles bouts.
Team USA is captained by Mary Joe Fernandez and boasts four women who are all ranked inside the top 30.
The Americans and Swedes have met four other times in Fed Cup play, previously all in the World Group, with the U.S. going 3-1. Sweden won their last encounter, however, in Melbourne, Australia back in 1988.
The U.S. is attempting to avoid relegation to World Group II after losing its' 2013 opening tie 3-2 to Italy in February. A victory over Sweden would land the Americans back in the World Group for 2014.