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By Chris Oddo | Sunday November 12, 2017

CoCo Vandeweghe finished off a perfect Fed Cup season with a doubles triumph for the ages.

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The American paired with Shelby Rogers to defeat Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-3, 7-6(3) in the fifth and deciding rubber in Minsk to make America Fed Cup champions for the first time in 17 years.

"It was a very tough match," U.S. Captain Cathy Rinaldi said. "These players were incredible. This was an incredible venue, incredible atmosphere. This is something that we're going to treasure for the rest of our lives."

Rinaldi became the first U.S. Captain to win a Fed Cup title in her debut season since 1983 with the win.

"American tennis, American women's tennis, is thriving and doing well," She said. "We have so many great players, so many young junior players coming up the ranks as well, and even younger behind them. It's pretty exciting. It's an exciting time."

Nobody embodied the American swagger better than Vandeweghe this season. But she was quick to give Rogers credit for leading the doubles effort emotionally.

"I really have to thank Shelby for the spur, the confidence," Vandeweghe said. "She was the one that kept me fired up through the whole second set when we were up, down. Didn't really matter. She was bringing the energy for the doubles team."

Vandeweghe, who improved to 8-0 this Fed Cup season, and 6-0 in singles, defeated Sabelenka in reverse singles to give Team U.S.A. a 2-1 lead, but Sasnovich overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set to defeat Sloane Stephens and set up a fifth and deciding rubber at the Fed Cup final for the third consecutive year.

The 25-year-old American took Team USA on her shoulders this season—she won 16 of 17 sets played and won three rubbers in the semifinals against the Czech Republic as well as this weekend’s final.

In the second set of the doubles decider, it was the Americans who pulled a dramatic comeback as they battled from 2-5 down in the second set and eventually closed the door on Belarus and their rowdy contingent of 9,000 fans in a tiebreaker.

The Americans claimed their 18th Fed Cup title while Belarus, playing in its first ever Fed Cup final, will look forward to picking up the pieces next season.





 

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