WTA Tour

Sasnovich beats Stephens to force Fed Cup final decider

2017-11-12 19:25
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (AP)

Minsk - Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich battled back from a set down to beat American Sloane Stephens and force a deciding rubber in the Fed Cup final in Minsk on Sunday.

Earlier, CoCo Vandeweghe put the United States 2-1 up by beating teenager Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.

The world number 87 Sasnovich prevailed 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 in two hours and six minutes to chalk up her second win over Stephens, who has lost all of her six matches since winning the US Open title in September, in as many meetings.

Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers take on Sasnovich and Sabalenka for the title in a doubles clash later on Sunday.

"It was one of the most tense matches in my life," Sasnovich said.

"I gave everything I have for the win, the god of tennis was on my side today. The support of the crowd helped me to stay concentrated throughout the game. It was a fantastic match."

Both players produced a catalogue of unforced errors in the opening set but the 24-year-old Stephens held on to take it after an early break.

But in the second Stephens, ranked 13th in the world, suddenly ran out of gas allowing Sasnovich to break twice to level at one set all.

In the deciding set, Stephens led 5-2 before Sasnovich, 23, roared back with four straight games before eventually closing it out 8-6.

In Sunday's early match, Sabalenka and Vandeweghe both played with confidence from the start on the hard court at a packed Minsk Chizhovka 8,000-capacity arena, holding their serves until the 11th game when Vandeweghe broke.

But Sabalenka broke back immediately under the watchful gaze of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko to force a tiebreak, which the 25-year-old American won 7-5.

In the second Sabalenka, who is 78th in the world rankings, lost her nerve, allowing Vandeweghe to break twice for a commanding 5-0 lead minutes before she took the set and the match with an accurate backhand.

"I knew if I just kept giving myself opportunities and getting my nose in front in her service games, I'd keep getting opportunities and she'd eventually break down," Vandeweghe said.

"She did what she's supposed to do and did what I expected her to do - just swing and pray for it to go in and she did. So you just got to recover and keep fighting.

"And then it showed in the second set, she withered when I kept the pressure on her, and then I just closed it out."

On the opening day, Vandeweghe put the USA ahead with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sasnovich, while Sabalenka beat Stephens 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to pull the tie level.

Results from the first day of the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena on Sunday (x denotes seeding):


Group Boris Becker

Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Jack Sock (USA x8) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Playing later

Alexander Zverev (GER x3) v Marin Cilic (CRO x5)


Group Eltingh/Haarhuis

Ryan Harrison/Michael Venus (USA/NZL x8) bt Henri Kontinen/John Peers (FIN/AUS x2) 6-4, 7-6 (10/8)

Playing later

Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau (NED/ROM x3) v Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA/FRA x6)

Read more on:    sloane stephens  |  tennis

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.