US overpowers Belarus to clinch Fed Cup title after 17 years
It was in the final set of the game that the US came out on the top in the clear battle of wits between the two sides
Ending their dry spell of 17 years, the United States clinched their 18th Fed Cup title on Sunday after beating Belarus in a thrilling encounter. The US pair of CoCo Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers defeated Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 3-2 in a best-of-five final game played at Minsk Chizhovka arena. In the crucial doubles match, the United States pair won 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) on the memorable day, handing a title that has eluded the nation since their last 2000 Fed Cup triumph.
Earlier in the day, CoCo Vandeweghe gave a 2-1 lead to the United States by subduing the challenge of Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7/5), 6-1. Elsewhere, Belarus powered their way back to a fighting score of 2-2 after Aliaksandra Sasnovich defeated Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 8-6. It was in the final set of the game that the US came out on the top in the clear battle of wits between the two sides, which were largely inseparable throughout the game.
In a post-match press conference, CoCo Vandeweghe, “I knew if I just kept giving myself opportunities and getting my nose in front in her service games, I’d keep getting opportunities and she’d eventually break down. She did what she’s supposed to do and did what I expected her to do – just swing and pray for it to go in and she did. So you just got to recover and keep fighting. And then it showed in the second set, she withered when I kept the pressure on her, and then I just closed it out.”
After the tremendous triumph, a visibly buoyant captain of the US team Kathy Rinaldi said, “I’m just really thrilled for all four players. 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.”