Belarus punched through to a first-ever Fed Cup final, where they will host the title-leading United States in November after defeating the Swiss in the Sunday semifinals.
Belarus, without new mother and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, advanced when No. 96-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich stunned top Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 7-6(2), and Belarus teen Aryna Sabalenka, ranked No. 125, followed with an upset of Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
“[She is] definitely not playing to her ranking,” Bacsinszky said of Sasnovich. “She was better than me today, she played amazing and was there at the right moments.”
The U.S. has not won the Fed Cup in 17 years, but leads all nations with 17 titles.
The U.S. edged the Czechs 3-2, needing the final doubles to close it out.
Without leading players Petra Kvitova or Karolina Pliskova, the Czech “B” team still pushed the U.S. “B” team to the limit.
American CoCo Vandeweghe won both her singles, but got little support as American Shelby Rogers lost to Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3, and American Lauren Davis was defeated by Czech teen Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 7-5.
In the deciding doubles the American tandem of world No. 1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe defeated Kristyna Pliskova and Siniakova 6-2, 6-3.
The U.S. is 0-3 in Fed Cup finals since last finishing triumphant in 2000.
“It was an amazing day as a team and it shows that every point counts in this event,” Vandeweghe said. “We all came together when it mattered most and that’s what you expect out of a Fed Cup tie. We deserve to be in the finals.”
The two teams could look radically different between now and November. Azarenka is scheduled to make her return to tennis this summer, while Serena Williams will be out of action due to pregnancy. Venus Williams could be called to duty for the Americans.
The Fed Cup final will be held on Nov. 11-12 at a venue and on a surface to be announced in Belarus.
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