"We were pretty tight in the first few games of each set and then when I got the break I felt a little bit better". This is literally my first time traveling with the baby and everything.
The Czechs will face Germany after Tatjana Maria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld came from a set down in their deciding doubles match to win the tie against Belarus.
Dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Switzerland's Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-4 in the first reverse singles to give the Czechs an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the first-round match in Prague.
Czech captain Petr Pala expects Germany to call up former world No. 1 and two-time major victor Angelique Kerber as well as Julia Georges - both top 10 players - for the semifinal.
"They have a strong calibre, because Angie (Kerber) has been playing excellent tennis this year and (Julia) Goerges played great in the second half of last year and she started well this year too", said Pala. Even though the sister-duo lost the match to the Netherlands' Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs, Serena feels confident that her comeback is right on track.
French No. 1 Mladenovic had earlier seen off Australian Open semifinalist Mertens 6-4, 6-4 before Alison Van Uytvanck eased past Pauline Parmentier 6-1, 6-3 to pull the hosts level.
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She hadn't played competitive tennis since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant for her 23rd career Grand Slam singles title, one off Margaret Court's record.
Serena Williams played in a tennis tournament in front of her baby daughter Alexis for the first time this weekend.
"To play the two Williams sisters, it's incredible because we won the match", said Kerkhove.
Serena's daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was wearing a headband with red and white stripes plus a blue coat Sunday as her father, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, held her just behind the players' bench.
Serena was understandably far from her best in her return to competition but walked away feeling upbeat.
"I didn't know what to expect. Or I'll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, 'Why do I feel so sad when I have a lovely baby?' The emotions are insane".