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US Leads Women's Tennis Fed Cup Quarterfinal - 2003-07-20

The United States has jumped to a commanding 2-0 lead over Italy in the first day of their Fed Cup quarterfinal match being played in Washington. Venus and Serena Williams are dominant in women's tennis. The sisters teamed to beat the Czech Republic 5-0 earlier this year. But Venus is recovering from an abdominal strain she suffered at Wimbledon, and Serena had an awards ceremony to attend as the United States faced Italy in the Fed Cup quarterfinals.

Their absence led to a small attendance of just over 4,700 fans for the first day of play in Washington. But U.S. captain Billie Jean King put together a squad of rising stars that came through with the first two of three needed points.

Meghann Shaughnessy defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-4, and Chanda Rubin got past Rita Grande 6-3, 6-3. King thought both Americans hit the ball well.

"Selection of shot is really important," said King. "Choice of shot or selection of shot, I think, equals a lot of talent. I am a very big believer in that. The great ones hit the right shots at the right time."

Rubin will have the first opportunity to clinch victory over Italy when she faces Schiavone in the first match Sunday. The United States has never lost to the Italians in eight Fed Cup encounters.