MINSK, November 10, 2017
The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final between the United States and Belarus will begin with a match-up between No. 1 American and world No. 10 CoCo Vandeweghe and Belarus No. 2 and world No. 87 Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The second match on Saturday will pit No. 2 American and world No. 13 Sloane Stephens against Belarus’ top player and world No. 78 Aryna Sabalenka.
Vandeweghe To Open Against Sasnovich
Saturday’s first singles match will see CoCo Vandeweghe, the 25-year old American No. 1 and 2017 US Open and Australian Open semifinalist, take on 23-year old Belarus No. 2 Aliaksandra Sasnovich. This will be the first-ever match-up between these two players in WTA or Fed Cup competition.
Vandeweghe, playing in her seventh Fed Cup tie for the U.S. and third straight tie of the year, is ranked a career-high No. 10 in the world. She holds a 5-3 record in singles and a 4-0 record in doubles in Fed Cup competition. She played a crucial role in leading the U.S. Fed Cup team to the final this year, winning both of her singles matches in the first round in Maui. Vandeweghe then won both of her singles matches in the semifinal in Tampa Bay, and clinched the tie for the U.S. in the fifth-and-decisive rubber to become the first U.S. Fed Cup player since 1996 to win three live matches in one tie. Vandeweghe has had a strong year on the WTA Tour, reaching the semifinals of the US Open and Australian Open and reaching the final of the US Open Series event in Stanford, and the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai last week.
“I can’t really speak on any of the matchups because I haven’t played anyone on the team,” Vandeweghe told. “But it’s a great honor to play alongside these girls through the whole year, and to kind of put the cherry on top, make it to the final, compete with them this coming weekend.
Sasnovich, ranked No. 87 and the No. 2 Belarus player, has went 4-0 in singles play in Fed Cup this year, leading the Belarus team to its first-ever Fed Cup Final with upsets over the Netherlands in the first round and Switzerland in the semifinals. She is 13-7 in singles and 5-3 in doubles in Fed Cup and today, she received the Fed Cup Heart Award. Sasnovich has reached one WTA final in her career (Seoul in 2015).
Stephens To Face Sabalenka
Saturday’s second singles match will see 24-year old Sloane Stephens, the No. 2 American and 2017 US Open champion, take on 19-year old Belarus No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka. This will also be the first-ever match-up between these two players in WTA or Fed Cup competition.
Stephens, who is ranked No. 13 in the world, is competing in her first Fed Cup tie since the 2016 World Group II First Round in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She is competing in her fifth Fed Cup tie for the U.S. and holds a 2-2 record in singles play and 1-1 in doubles. Stephens won her first career Grand Slam singles title by capturing the US Open this year after being ranked as low as No. 957 in July, her ranking having dropped after she missed 11 months following surgery on her left foot. At the US Open, Stephens defeated compatriot Madison Keys in the first All-American final since 2002. Prior to the US Open this summer, Stephens reached the semifinals of back-to-back US Open Series events in Toronto and Cincinnati in the third and fourth tournaments of her comeback. She also holds five WTA titles and in 2013, defeated Serena Williams en route to the semifinals of the Australian Open.
“I am super excited to be back. It’s my first tie with Kathy, so I’m super excited to be playing under her. I haven’t played since last year in Hawaii,” Stephens said.
“I am really looking forward to getting back on the court. I’m excited to be here for a final. Just hoping to have a great weekend.”
Sabalenka, ranked No. 78 and Belarus’ top singles player, is competing in her fourth Fed Cup tie. She holds a 2-2 record in Fed Cup singles play and a 0-1 record in doubles. She clinched the victory for Belarus in the fourth singles rubber in both the first round and semifinals this year. She also received the Fed Cup Heart Award for the 2017 Fed Cup first round. Sabalenka peaked at No. 76 in the world this October after reaching her first career WTA final in Tianjin, China, losing to Maria Sharapova.