Sweden takes 1-0 lead over US in Fed Cup
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Sofia Arvidsson gave Sweden a 1-0 lead over the U.S. when she beat Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff tie at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on Saturday.
The 16th-ranked Stephens was playing her first Fed Cup singles match and was clearly nervous.
"Unfortunate that I didn't get my first Fed Cup live rubber win at this home tie,'' Stephens said. "But it's OK. Obviously just got to keep pushing and get ready for the next one.''
Stephens played a sloppy and rushed match, while the more experienced Arvidsson outsmarted Stephens throughout most of the two-hour match.
The 29-year-old Arvidsson is playing in her 48th Fed Cup tie and has a 48-35 record.
"I was focusing on myself and just trying to play my game,'' Arvidsson said. "The wind was difficult, but just tried to be aggressive and be the one who hit first.''
After splitting the first two sets, the players went to take a heat break and then were delayed longer than expected by a brief rain showed in the area.
"The first set was really hard and I was kind of tired in the second set,'' Arvidsson said. "I think the break was good for me. It was a little cooler when we came out again and a little bit windy.''
Returning to the court, Stephens could barely keep a ball in play. Arvidsson raced to a 4-0 lead before Stephens held serve in the fifth game. Overall, Stephens made 74 unforced errors in the match to only 41 for Arvidsson.
"First match is always important,'' Arvidsson said. "You want to win and put a lot of pressure on the other team.''
Top-ranked Serena Williams was set to play 66th-ranked Johanna Larsson of Sweden in the second match Saturday. But that match has been delayed by rain.
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