The United States Fed Cup Team won its first Fed Cup title since 2000 and 18th title overall, defeating Belarus, 3-2, in an exciting fifth-and-decisive doubles rubber on Sunday in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final in Minsk.
In addition to the U.S. team making history, American No. 1 and world No. 10 CoCo Vandeweghe had quite a historic day after defeating Belarus No. 1 and world No. 78 Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6(5), 6-1. Vandeweghe became the first American ever, since the World Group format was instituted in 1995, to win all six Fed Cup singles matches in one year. She also is the first player to win the maximum number of Fed Cup singles rubbers in a year since Petra Kvitova in 2011 and just the ninth player to achieve the feat since 1995. Vandeweghe is now 7-3 in Fed Cup singles play.
US Open champion and world No. 13 Sloane Stephens battled in another tight three-setter in the fourth singles rubber on Sunday, eventually falling to world No. 87 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 4-6, 6-1, 8-6.
With the final tied at 2-2, the U.S. found itself in a fifth-and-decisive doubles rubber for just the 12th time since the World Group format was instituted in 1995. It was also the second consecutive tie that went to a fifth-and-decisive rubber after the U.S. won its semifinal in April over the Czech Republic in the doubles match. Both countries made substitutions to their doubles teams. U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi elected to pair Vandeweghe with Shelby Rogers, while Belarus named Sabalenka and Sasnovich to play the doubles.
In the end, Vandeweghe and Rogers clinched the victory for the U.S. to bring the Fed Cup trophy back to the United States. The duo defeated Sabalenka and Sasnovich, 6-3, 7-6(3).
Vandeweghe finishes the 2017 Fed Cup season with a perfect 8-0 singles and doubles record. She is only the third player in Fed Cup history to win three rubbers in a Fed Cup Final, following Anastasia Myskina (RUS) in 2004 and Elena Dementieva (RUS) in 2005. (It has only been possible to win three rubbers in a Fed Cup Final since 1995). Vandeweghe is also the first player to win eight rubbers in a Fed Cup year since the current eight-team World Group format was introduced in 2005. This was Rogers’ first live Fed Cup win.
Captain Kathy Rinaldi had a very successful year in her first year as U.S. Fed Cup Captain, as well. Rinaldi is the first Fed Cup Captain since Marty Riessen in 1986 to win the Fed Cup title in their debut year. Rinaldi was named the 19th U.S. Fed Cup Captain on December 8, 2016, succeeding Mary Joe Fernandez after eight years at the post. Rinaldi currently serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA – Pro Women for USTA Player Development, focused on helping American pros achieve Top-100 rankings. She has coached the U.S. to multiple junior international team competition titles and coached the U.S. women in the Pan-American Games in 2015. Rinaldi was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in the world in doubles (February 1993).
The U.S. Fed Cup Team is now 18-11 in Fed Cup finals, 4-4 in finals since 1995. The U.S. Fed Cup Team had also played in the final on the road two previous times since 1995, making this the team’s first title in another country. Belarus was competing in its first-ever Fed Cup Final.