(Reuters) - Coco Vandeweghe was not about to let a perfect Fed Cup season slip away as she led the United States to their first title in 17 years in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday.
The American, unbeaten in Fed Cup singles rubbers this year, teamed up with Shelby Rogers to defeat Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 7-6(3) to give the U.S. a 3-2 overall win.
It was the United States’ record 18th Fed Cup crown.
“Well, it’s not just me out here,” Vandeweghe said. “I really want to thank my team mates for pushing me along... It was really a team effort.”
With the U.S. victory, Vandeweghe became the first player since Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in 2011 to win the maximum six singles matches in one year, and just the ninth player to achieve the feat since the introduction of the World Group in 1995, the U.S. Tennis Association said.
“I might have had wins along the way, but Ali (Riske) won a lot of matches in Hawaii the first round,” Vandeweghe said.
The championship had come down to the winner-takes-all doubles match after the United States and Belarus split the four singles matches – two on Saturday and another two on Sunday.
On match point, Vandeweghe returned Sasnovich’s serve toward Sabalenka, who volleyed low at Rogers’ feet. Rogers redirected the ball crosscourt, and Sasnovich’s return found the middle of the net, giving the Americans the victory.
“I was so happy to be able to get a chance to compete for my country with these girls and do my part,” Rogers said.
“I wouldn’t want to share that moment with anybody else. Coco is amazing. The team is amazing. I love these girls. I will never, ever, ever forget this moment.”
The win gave U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi a title in her debut year and makes her the first female captain since Billie Jean King in 2000 to win the title.
“This is something that we’re going to treasure for the rest of our lives,” Rinaldi said. “These players were incredible
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar