Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Minsk, Be­larus - The US claimed its first Fed Cup ten­nis ti­tle for 17 years as Shelby Rogers and CoCo Van­deweghe beat Be­larus pair Aryna Sa­balenka and Ali­ak­san­dra Sas­novich in a de­cid­ing dou­bles rub­ber in the fi­nal on Sun­day.

Van­deweghe and Rogers won 6-3, 7-6 to give the Amer­i­cans a 3-2 fi­nal vic­tory and an 18th Fed Cup crown. "I'm just really thrilled for all four play­ers," said US cap­tain Kathy Ri­naldi.

"CoCo (Van­deweghe) came out and just played un­be­liev­able. Shelby (Rogers) stepped up and Sloane (Stephens) - my heart was bro­ken for her, but she bat­tled this whole week­end, she bat­tled all the way to the end. I'm so proud of all four of them."

Ear­lier on Sun­day, Van­deweghe put the US 2-1 up by beat­ing Sa­balenka 7-6, 6-1, while Sas­novich bat­tled back from a set down to beat Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 to draw Be­larus level at 2-2.

The 19 year old Sa­balenka and Sas­novich, 23, dropped a serve apiece in the first set and the Amer­i­cans surged in front af­ter just 26 min­utes.

The Be­larus duo replied pos­i­tively and broke both Van­deweghe and Rogers in the sec­ond to move 5-2 ahead but the visi­tors then broke back twice to level at 5-5.

In a tense con­clu­sion, the hosts broke Rogers again but the Amer­i­can pair would not buckle de­spite the in­tense at­mos­phere of a Minsk crowd des­per­ate to see a first home Fed Cup tri­umph.

Sa­balenka dropped serve again to send the set to the tie-break where the ex­pe­ri­enced US duo tri­umphed.

On the open­ing day Van­deweghe put US 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.

Be­larus was with­out for­mer world No 1 Vic­to­ria Azarenka who was forced to re­main in the US to fight a cus­tody bat­tle over her baby son.


US play­ers cel­e­brate with their tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Fed Cup fi­nal against hosts Be­larus in Minsk on Sun­day

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