Mary Joe Fernandez defeated Ai Sugiyama 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 and Lindsay Davenport beat Naoko Sawamatsu 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Japan in a Fed Cup World Group I match at Brookline, Mass.
The winner of the series advances to the 1998 draw. The United States was eliminated from this year’s Fed Cup by the Netherlands.
The playoffs continue today with Davenport facing Sugiyama and Fernandez playing Sawamatsu in singles.
Elsewhere, Martina Hingis and Jana Novotna, opponents in the finals at Wimbledon, both won first-round matches.
Hingis, the Wimbledon champion, helped Switzerland to a 2-0 lead against Argentina, defeating Maria Jose Gaidano 6-1, 6-2 before a small crowd at Zurich.
At Prague, No. 2 Novotna, playing with a strained abdominal muscle that hindered her at Wimbledon, overpowered Miriam Oremans 6-3, 6-0 in 70 minutes to pull the Czech Republic even at 1-1 with the Netherlands.
At Gstaad, Switzerland, Felix Mantilla reached the finals for the second consecutive year and Juan Albert Viloca upset second-seed Alex Corretja to set up the fourth all-Spanish title match in the history of the Swiss Open.
The sixth-seeded Mantilla defeated eighth-seed Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 6-3, 6-4. Viloca defeated Corretja 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.
Antonio Marin of Spain upset fifth-seeded Karol Kucera of Slovakia 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to move into the final of the Swedish Open in Bastad.
Marin will play fourth-seeded Magnus Norman of Sweden for the title today. Norman defeated Spanish veteran Carlos Costa 7-5, 6-3.
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