It was a dramatic final day in Minsk as the U.S. women’s tennis team overcame a strong effort by Belarus to claim its first Fed Cup title in 17 years.
Team USA’s Shelby Rogers and CoCo Vandeweghe were on the court for the decisive doubles match as they defeated Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 and 7-6(3) to give the Americans a 3-2 win in the final round.
Vandeweghe was critical for the United States as she played a role in all three wins, beating Sasnovich and Sabalenka in her singles matches. The 2016 Olympian had a stellar Fed Cup campaign overall, winning all eight of her matches. The Fed Cup title caps off a stellar year for the 25-year-old in which she made semifinals appearances at the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.
US Open winner Sloane Stephens nearly won the title for the U.S. in her match with Sasnovich, a tightly-contested affair in which she was up 5-2 in the third set, just one game from the championship. But Sasnovich rallied to win the set and push the final into doubles.
Hosts Belarus showed well in earning its first runner-up performance in Fed Cup history. The U.S. is the most successful team in the history of the cup, with 18 titles and 11 runner-up finishes.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.