Belarus defeat Netherlands to join US at Fed Cup final - GulfToday

Belarus defeat Netherlands to join US at Fed Cup final

Belarus defeat Netherlands  to join US at Fed Cup final

US’ Sofia Kenin (right) and team-mate Bethanie Mattek-Sands in action against Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova during their doubles match in the Fed Cup qualifier in Everett on Saturday. Associated Press

Aryna Sabalenka’s day of wild extremes ended with Belarus clawing their way into the Fed Cup final while Naomi Osaka’s participation ended tamely when she was benched as Japan lost.

Belarus beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the Hague. Russia was also forced to go the distance as they beat Romania 3-2 in Cluj-Napoca.

Spain swept Japan aside 3-1. Switzerland beat Canada, Belgium beat Kazakhstan and Slovakia beat Britain, all 3-1. Germany thrashed Brazil 4-0 in warm conditions in Florianopolis.

The USA claimed the final place when newly-crowned Australian Open champ Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-0 in the deciding doubles against Latvia.

They join already-qualified Australia, France, Czech Republic and Hungary in the 12-team finals in Budapest in April.

In the Hague, Sabalenka opened the day by losing 6-4, 6-4 to Kiki Bertens. It was a match notable for an awful miss by the Belarussian who seemed to start crying after netting an easy winner.

When Arantza Rus won the opening set of the fourth rubber to love and Aliaksandra Sasnovich took an injury time out in the next rubber in clear distress with a wrist injury, Belarus seemed doomed.

Somehow Sasnovich battled back to win 0-6, 7-5, 6-2.  Then, in front of a noisy home crowd, Sabalenka and Sasnovich teamed up to outlast Bertens and Demi Schuur in a taut doubles to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10/8).

A nervy deciding set went to a tiebreak, Belarus raced to a 5-2 lead but when Sabalenka celebrated a winner too early she was called for hindrance. The Belarussians then each squandered a match point by netting a forehand. Bertens saved another before the pressure told and she served a double fault to lose the match.

In the other tie decided by the doubles, the Russians Anna Blinkova and Anna Kalinskaya had a less stressful time as they beat Jaqueline Adina Cristian and Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-2. Cristian had just kept the hosts in the tie by beating Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 6-3 in the last singles.

Agence France-Presse

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