CoCo Vandeweghe wins, Sloane Stephens loses as US, Belarus tied

Lynette Rowe
November 12, 2017

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, who is ranked 13th, leads the American team, along with No. 10 CoCo Vandeweghe, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist. "We're going to have each other's backs and compete as a really tight-knit team". She retired with a knee injury from her last match against Barbora Strycova in China last week. She says she's ready to play on the indoor hard court. "Even though I will not be in Minsk for the final, my heart is always with my country and my team and I will cheer for them from afar". "You just try your best".

World number 10 Vandeweghe went into the opening rubber with a ideal singles record in the competition this year and was too good for Sasnovich, giving her country the upper hand as they attempt to end a 17-year-wait for a Fed Cup triumph. Since then, they have played in three finals - 2003, 2009, 2010 - but lost all of them. Doesn't matter if I play first, second, not at all.

"Obviously, I've known these girls since I was 12-13 years old, so we're all really good friends", Stephens said.

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Sabalenka will face world number 10 Vandeweghe next, while Stephens will look to bounce back against Sasnovich, ranked 87th in the world.

Belarus' hopes of winning a first Fed Cup title were dealt a blow when Victoria Azarenka ruled herself out of the showdown due to an ongoing custody dispute with her baby's father, but Sabalenka stepped up in her absence. Joining Stephens for the best-of-fivematches final on an indoor hard court in Minsk, Belarus, on November 11-12 are two-time Grand Slam semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske. There was an archer who perfectly placed an arrow through a tennis ball, which contained Sasnovich's name, to determine the order of play. Two men dressed in knight's attire on horseback greeted draw attendees outside the Minsk City Hall.

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