United States downs Belarus to claim first Fed Cup since 2000 and 18th overall
Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe lead the U.S. to its first title in 17 years
After one of the best American showings in the US Open ever, USA Tennis continued to close out its 2017 season in style, this time with a Fed Cup title in Belarus against a scrappy young Belarus team. Team USA hadn't won the title since 2000, but behind US Open Champion Sloane Stephens; Shelby Rogers, Alison Riske and, perhaps most of all, CoCo Vandeweghe, the Americans were able to claim the Fed Cup.
Vandeweghe had an outstanding tournament, as she continued her dominant doubles play. Rogers and Vandeweghe played together, picking each other up at every opportunity.
"Today was a lot of work and a lot of dedication to the Fed Cup in each and every round," she said in a post-match interview. "I dedicate my time and energy through my season to be able to perform the best I could for Team USA."
Kathy Rinaldi, the Team USA captain (her first year), was thrilled with the result. "It's unbelievable!" she said after Team USA pulled in the win. "What an amazing effort by all four players this week. It's been incredible, the atmosphere is something special. It's a day we'll never forget."
Vandeweghe was proud of her doubles partner, and she said that Team USA complemented each other well. "That's exactly what Fed Cup's about: you have your teammates supporting you all weekend, and when they're called upon, they come through," said Vandeweghe. "[Rogers] definitely carried me through most of that match when it mattered."
Rogers, meanwhile, seemed more than happy to work with Vandeweghe. "She's such a leader for this team," she said after the doubles win. "She's been here all year long for us, and to have this moment here is so special."
The team defeated 19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka and 23-year-old Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6. Sasnovich forced a rubber match by defeating Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 8-6, giving Belarus an opportunity to square off against Rogers and Vandeweghe. Vandeweghe led the US team to a win, giving her her third point in the Cup and the United States a 3-2 win. It's the third time since 1995 that a player has put up three points in the Cup.
Rinaldi commented on the clutch effort from Rogers and Vandeweghe. "They had incredible energy throughout the two sets," she said. "They stepped it up, they played more aggressive at the end, they really took it. And that was the plan, to go out there and take it."
The win only underlines that the United States has a bright future ahead of it in women's tennis with Vandeweghe (25 years old) and Stephens (24) leading the charge.
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