(April 23, 2017) The United States advanced to its first Fed Cup Final since 2010 by defeating the three-time defending champion Czech Republic, 3-2, on Sunday in a World Group Semifinal tie at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa Bay.
The U.S. clinched the best-of-five match series when doubles world No. 1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe defeated Katerina Siniakova and Kristyna Pliskova, 6-2, 6-3, in a fifth, decisive doubles match in front of 2,756 people.
After the two countries came into the day tied, 1-1, following Saturday’s singles matches, world No. 24 Vandeweghe defeated No. 38 Siniakova, 6-4, 6-0, to put the U.S. up, 2-1. Marketa Vondrousova, a 17-year old who won her first WTA title last week, then defeated Lauren Davis – substituted for Shelby Rogers – 6-2, 7-5, to push the tie to the decisive doubles match, a first for the U.S. since 2015, when it lost to Italy in a World Group Playoff.
Both countries made substitutions to their doubles teams. U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi elected to pair Vandeweghe with Mattek-Sands, while Czech Captain Petr Pala subbed in Siniakova for Denisa Allertova. The victory made Vandeweghe the first U.S. Fed Cup player to win three matches in a single tie since Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 World Group Quarterfinals.
“It was an amazing day as a team,” noted CoCo Vandeweghe. “It shows that every point counts in this event, and we all came together when it mattered most. That’s what you expect out of a Fed Cup tie.”
U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi on reaching the final in her debut in her debut year as captain: “It’s been an unbelievable couple of ties for me. Coco said it well: These girls are amazing. It’s been a lot of fun it’s super special. It’s something that I’ll never forget. Looking forward to the final.”
“I love everything about the role. I knew what I was getting into, and I love it. I love the girls, the competition. Yes, at this level you always have little bumps in the road or what have you, but that’s part of it. And I like that part. I like the challenge.”
Asked if she was in contact with Venus and Serena Williams, Rinaldi said: “Well, we just won this and haven’t gotten that far. Yeah, I’ve spoken to Venus and Serena. They’ve been extremely supportive. We’ve had great communication with all the players. That’s part of it as captain. I care about these girls more than
just Fed Cup.
“I’m thinking about them for the long run and the big picture as well. You know, that’s great thing about American tennis right now, the exciting part, that we have so many players. These girls have been absolutely amazing. It’s their goal to win a Fed Cup title and I know that.
“It’s actually tough to pick a team because we have so many great players, and I’ve known them since they were so young. I believe in them all.”
The U.S. will travel to Belarus, a surprise 3-2 winner over Switzerland, for the Fed Cup Final, Nov. 11-12, at a site and on a surface to be determined by the Belarussians. Rinaldi follows Mary Joe Fernandez as U.S. captains to reach the Final in their debut year. The U.S. team made its last appearance in the Final in 2010, when a team featuring Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands, lost to Italy, 3-1, in San Diego. The U.S. won the last of its record 17 Fed Cup titles back in 2000.
Final results of the tie
Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
Singles A: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE), 6-1, 6-4
Singles B: Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d. Shelby Rogers (USA), 6-3, 6-3
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.
Singles C: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE), 6-4, 6-0
Singles D: Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Lauren Davis (USA), 6-2, 7-5
Doubles: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) / CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) / Katerina Siniakova (CZE), 6-2, 6-3