Sabalenka stuns Stephens to draw Belarus level in final


Sabalenka stuns Stephens to draw Belarus level in final

CoCo Vandeweghe will play in the opening match of the Fed Cup final on Saturday when the United States takes on Belarus, with the Americans looking to break a 17-year championship drought.

"I was so happy to be able to get a chance to compete for my country with these girls and do my part", Rogers said. Coco is incredible. The team is unbelievable. "I will never, ever, ever forget this moment". She has won all eight Fed Cup matches she's played this season - six singles and two doubles. The 25-year-old Vandeweghe is also the first player to win the maximum six Fed Cup singles in a year since Petra Kvitova for the Czech Republic in 2011.

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. This was its fourth Fed Cup final since last winning in 2000.

In the second Sabalenka, who is 78th in the world, suddenly lost her nerve allowing Vandeweghe to break twice before she took the set and the match sealing her victory with an accurate backhand.

But the Americans regrouped in the final match, as Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers fought back from a 5-2 deficit and two set points in the second set to defeat the last-minute makeshift pairing of Sabalenka and Sasnovich, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

"I had a great time out there", Vandeweghe said.

The Belarusians couldn't match Rogers' consistency and power from the baseline where she played the deuce side.

"I wouldn't want to share that moment with anybody else".

Sasnovich had kept Belarus alive after beating US Open champion Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-1 8-6 to leave the final level at 2-2 on the indoor hard-court Chizhovka Arena.

Earlier on Sunday, Vandeweghe put the US 2-1 up by beating Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 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.

However, the 87th-ranked Sasnovich then came back from 5-2 down in the final set to upset world number 13 Stephens and set up a doubles decider. Rogers won both of her service points in the tiebreaker for a 3-2 edge and then delivered a backhand volley victor against Sabalenka's service point for a 4-2 advantage for the Americans.



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