Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Azarenka says custody dispute keeps her out of Fed Cup final

Azarenka says custody dispute keeps her out of Fed Cup final

Stephens, who won the US Open this year for her first major title, missed the opening two rounds of the global team competition because of a foot injury.

Teenager Aryna Sabalenka left the Fed Cup final in the balance by beating Sloane Stephens to bring Belarus level after CoCo Vandeweghe struck the first blow for the United States in Minsk on Saturday. "It's awesome I can be on this team".

Vandeweghe, who made her debut in the top 10 of the world rankings this week after reaching the final of the WTA Elite Trophy, will assume a leading role on a United States team seeking their first Fed Cup championship since winning a record 17th in 2000.

"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. "I'm out here for these girls, to compete as hard as I can".

Stephens didn't play from the 2016 Olympics through Wimbledon in 2017 and underwent foot surgery during that period.

"We've selected the players who have been playing for the team this year and were instrumental in getting the team to the Fed Cup final", she told Wednesday's news conference.

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Stephens retired from a match with a knee injury in China last week.

Vandeweghe broke in the opening games of both sets, and didn't face a break point on her serve in the opener.

World number 10 Vandeweghe went into the opening rubber with a ideal singles record in the competition this year and was too good for Sasnovich, giving her country the upper hand as they attempt to end a 17-year-wait for a Fed Cup triumph. Vandeweghe is No. 12, Rogers is No. 59 and Riske is No. 70.

"I feel like I'm coming in with wool over my eyes a little bit", Vandeweghe said.

This is the first final for Belarus. "I spoke to Billie Jean before I came over".

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