Saturday, 18 November, 2017

United States beats Belarus to win its 18th Fed Cup title

Vandeweghe, Stephens open play Vs Belarus in Fed Cup final Belarus and United States tied after opening day of Fed Cup final
Howard Terry | 13 November, 2017, 01:56

Coco Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers beat Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the deciding doubles rubber to give the visitors a 3-2 win in the best-of-five tie. The U.S. holds the most Fed Cup titles in the worldwide team competition. She finished 2017 with eight Fed Cup wins, including the maximum six Fed Cup singles victories.

It was the United States' record 18th Fed Cup crown.

The 25-year-old American took the opening set after 50 minutes winning it in a tiebreak.

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens will then play Aryna Sabalenka.

On the opening day Vandeweghe put United States of America into the lead with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sasnovich, while Sabalenka beat Stephens 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to pull the scores level at 1-1.

Kathy Rinaldi, in her inaugural season as US captain, became the first female captain in the tournament to lead a Fed Cup team to victory since Billie Jean King in 2000. Belarus is playing in the Fed Cup final for the first time. Vandeweghe was the heroine of the season, becoming the first ever player to pick up eight points for a team during a championship run.

"CoCo came out and just played unbelievable", U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi said.

Stephens has now lost all six matches since winning the title in NY.

The plan worked and the match went to decider as Sabalenka kept going for her shots and missing.

Stephens served for the match against Sasnovich at 5-3 in the third set, but was unable to clinch the title for the United States. Vandeweghe won both of her singles matches in the competition, defeating Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 6-1 earlier Sunday to give the USA team a 2-1 edge.

Sabalenka led 4-1 in the tiebreaker but surrendered her lead to a more measured Vandeweghe, who clinched the first set when the Belarussian blasted a forehand wide while going for a victor.

She didn't lose any match.

"It was a lot of work and a lot of dedication to the Fed Cup in each and every round to dedicate my time and energy through my season to be able to perform the best I could for team United States of America", said the 25-year-old Vandeweghe, who is ranked 10th in the world.

"And then it showed in the second set, she withered when I kept the pressure on her, and then I just closed it out".

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