Stephens provides boost for US in Fed Cup final during Belarus

Sloane Stephens is behind in a United States group for a Fed Cup final, and Victoria Azarenka is blank for Belarus.

That alone gives a early advantage to a Americans.

Stephens, who won a U.S. Open this year for her initial vital title, missed a opening dual rounds of a general group foe given of a feet injury. But she is behind and will be personification alongside CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske in a best-of-five array this weekend in Minsk.

“I’m happy to be behind personification and happy a group done a finals,” a 13th-ranked Stephens pronounced Wednesday. “It’s overwhelming we can be on this team.”

The United States is looking to win a Fed Cup for a initial time in 17 years, while Belarus is personification in a final for a initial time.

Stephens hasn’t played in a Fed Cup given a 2016 quarterfinals, though she pronounced it’s been “no problem during all” slipping behind onto a squad.

“Obviously, I’ve famous these girls given we was 12-13 years old, so we’re all unequivocally good friends,” Stephens said. “It’s easy to be with girls we like, girls we have fun with and girls you’ve been around for a unequivocally prolonged time.”

Stephens didn’t play from a 2016 Olympics by Wimbledon in 2017 and underwent feet medicine during that period. She arrived in Minsk after not winning any of a 4 matches she’s played given her warn U.S. Open victory. She late with a knee damage from her final compare opposite Barbora Strycova in China final week.

Vandeweghe, in her initial week during a career-high No. 10 ranking, won dual Fed Cup singles points opposite Germany in a quarterfinals, and dual singles and a doubles points opposite a Czech Republic in a semifinals.

But a U.S. Open semifinalist pronounced she knows really small about this weekend’s competition, carrying never played Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Vera Lapko or Lidziya Marozava.

“I feel like I’m entrance in with nap over my eyes a small bit,” Vandeweghe said.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, is not personification in a final given of an ongoing control brawl with a father of her tot son.

If U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi wins a title, she would be a initial womanlike to do so given Billie Jean King led a Americans to a final of their record 17 titles in 2000.

“It would be a good respect to be named as another womanlike (champion) captain alongside Billie Jean,” pronounced Rinaldi, who is in her initial year as captain. “I spoke to Billie Jean before we came over. She had some really moving difference for me.”

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