USA and Belarus tied after day one of Fed Cup final

Fed Cup final draw: USA's Coco Vandeweghe to face Belarus' Alikasandra Sasnovich in opening rubber

Fed Cup final draw: USA's Coco Vandeweghe to face Belarus' Alikasandra Sasnovich in opening rubber

Belarus, who are competing in the final for the first time, were 1-0 down after Coco Vandeweghe beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 6-4 in the first singles match. But she only played six matches this season and is now ranked 208th.

The United States aim to end their longest Fed Cup title drought when they meet a Belarus team missing former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in this weekend's final.

Stephens bounced back in the second set using the strategy that served her well at Flushing Meadows - getting balls back into court and counting on Sabalenka making unforced errors.

The U.S.is in its first Fed Cup final since losing to Italy in 2010.

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"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. The third set was literally insane: Stephens was up a break for three times in a row, but Sabalenka came back and broke her opponent on 5-4, converting the fourth match point.

"We know we're going to have a very competitive weekend", Rinaldi said.

Stephens hasn't played in the Fed Cup since the 2016 quarterfinals, but she said it's been "no problem at all" slipping back onto the squad. She says she's ready to play on the indoor hard court.

In the second set, Vandeweghe lost serve in the second and eighth games, but broke serve on three of four offerings to secure the match.

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Vandeweghe faces Sabalenka and Stephens meets Sasnovich in the reverse singles on Sunday as the USA look to get back on track in the hunt for an elusive 18th title.

Vandeweghe broke in the opening games of both sets at Chizhovka Arena, and didn't face a break point on her serve in the opener. "I have nothing against it but we don't even think about it", he said. "For me, Fed Cup is probably one of the more exciting moments I could have in my career. I just take the energy that's around me and I really use it to my advantage".

If US Captain Kathy Rinaldi wins the title, she would be the first female to do so since Billie Jean King led the Americans to the last of their record 17 titles in 2000.

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