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