U.S. Bat­tle Past Be­larus to Clinch 18th Fed Cup

Iran News - - SPORTS -

MINSK (Dis­patches) - The United States put in a bat­tling performance to beat hosts Be­larus 3-2 on Sun­day and win a record-ex­tend­ing 18th Fed Cup ti­tle, their first in 17 years.

Shelby Rogers and Coco Vandeweghe downed Aryna Sabalenka and Ali­ak­san­dra Sas­novich 6-3 7-6(3) in the dou­bles to hand the vis­i­tors the de­ci­sive point. The U.S. had not won the ti­tle since beat­ing Spain 5-0 in 2000, while Be­larus were with­out for­mer world num­ber one Vic­to­ria Azarenka, who missed the fi­nal due to an on­go­ing cus­tody bat­tle with her baby son’s fa­ther.

Vandeweghe is the first player to record a spot­less year in Fed Cup sin­gles rub­bers since Pe­tra Kvi­tova went un­beaten for the Czech Repub­lic in 2011, and the Amer­i­can won eight matches in to­tal - six sin­gles and two dou­bles - in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Kathy Ri­naldi was un­der­stand­ably over the moon af­ter be­com­ing the first U.S. cap­tain to guide a team to a Fed Cup ti­tle in their first year since Marty Riessen in 1986.

“I be­lieve in these Amer­i­can play­ers,” she said in a court­side in­ter­view. “They’re tough as nails. Amer­i­can women are tough as nails! There’s go­ing to be danc­ing all night.”

Vandeweghe had put the vis­i­tors ahead with a com­posed dis­play to beat world num­ber 78 Sabalenka 7-6(5) 6-1, be­fore Sas­novich struck back, down­ing Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-1 8-6 to force the dou­bles.

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