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US Open champ Stephens leads US in Fed Cup final vs. Belarus

12 November, 2017, 03:05 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Vandeweghe to open against Sasnovich in Fed Cup final

She cited the custody dispute when she pulled out of the U.S. Open in August, saying then that it wasn't possible for her child to travel with her to NY for the Grand Slam tournament.

Belarus drew level with the United States in the Fed Cup final after Aryna Sabalenka beat Sloane Stephens 6-3 3-6 6-4 in front of a home crowd in Minsk.

"I'm happy to be back playing and happy the team made the finals", the 13th-ranked Stephens said on Wednesday.

"I think we're going to go out this weekend and just play as hard as we can", said the 24-year-old.

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.

"This is my A-team, I believe in its strength and the work that we have done to get this far. I'm out here for these girls (her teammates), to compete as hard as I can". "It's easy to be with girls you like, girls you have fun with and girls you've been around for a really long time".

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Sabalenka stormed out of the blocks, breaking Stephens in the opening game and racing into a 3-0 lead as the world number 13 struggled to contend with the 19-year-old's powerful groundstrokes.

Stephens retired from a match with a knee injury in China last week.

Vandeweghe, in her first week at a career-high No. 10 ranking, won two Fed Cup singles points against Germany in the quarterfinals, and two singles and the doubles points against the Czech Republic in the semifinals.

Vandeweghe has won all five of the Fed Cup rubbers she has contested this year - four singles and one doubles - and credits her exposure to team sports at an early age for the success she has enjoyed in the global competition. Vandeweghe is No. 12, Rogers is No. 59 and Riske is No. 70.

"It would be a great honor to be named as another female (champion) captain alongside Billie Jean", said Rinaldi, who is in her first year as captain. "You feel like, "come on, I have to win". She had some very inspiring words for me".

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