Stephens boosts USA in final against Belarus

Vandeweghe thrives on team aspect of Fed Cup

The 78th-ranked Sabalenka beat out-of-sorts US Open champion Stephens 6-3 3-6 6-4 in the second rubber to make it one apiece.

"Really looking forward to getting back on the court", the 13th-ranked Stephens said. She retired with a knee injury from her last match against Barbora Strycova in China last week.

"It is heart-breaking for me to not have a chance to play and help Belarus in the final but unfortunately, my current custody situation is keeping me in California", the 28-year-old said in a statement posted on her Twitter account. "I'm excited to be here for a final".

"I didn't really even know top 10 was capable from just ranking points, all the stuff that goes with the WTA rankings, which I don't really understand, but it's not my job to understand, I just play tennis, which is the good part". "Just hoping to have a great weekend".

World number 10 Vandeweghe went into the opening rubber with a flawless singles record in the competition this year and was too good for Sasnovich, giving her country the upper hand as they attempt to end a 17-year-wait for a Fed Cup triumph.

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"This is my A-team, I believe in its strength and the work that we have done to get this far".

Vendeweghe, who made her Fed Cup debut in the 2010 final defeat to Italy, said it didn't matter to her whether she played first or second.

On Sunday Vandeweghe will face Sabalenka, then Stephens will play Sasnovich.

MINSK, Belarus-Sloane Stephens is back in the United States team for the Fed Cup final, and Victoria Azarenka is missing for Belarus. In doubles, the final match of the best-of-five series, Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers will play for the United States against Vera Lapko and Lidzlya Marozova.

Friday's draw ceremony was presented with a nod to traditional Belarusian culture. The official photos featured all the competitors holding swords.

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