Vandeweghe soars, US women win the Fed Cup

Photo: Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Federer beats Sock in first ATP Finals match  
American CoCo Vandeweghe is the Fed Cup MVP, winning three matches versus Belarus in the final tie to bring the USA its first Fed Cup since 2000. 

Vandeweghe has had a terrific year, especially in Fed Cup where she won eight points. Facing Belarus in its capitol, Minsk, she pulled out two singles victories and then capped it off with a straight-set, clinching doubles win with Shelby Rogers.

The tie, which many predicted as a sure American victory, was a nail-biter, coming down to the doubles on Sunday.

Five years ago, Vandeweghe was out of it, mentally. Her sole strategy was just cracking her serve. This year the No. 10 was so effective, so driven. Even two years ago, she would become super angry, throw her racket and shake her head. Even now, she can become frustrated, but that is OK, because after a moment or two, the veteran will breath deep and go on to the next point.

It is one thing to win at home, but it’s another to grab it away. Venus Williams didn’t play (of course the new mom, Serena, was out of action) and the injured Madison Keys couldn’t come either. For the home team, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka couldn’t play either, as she is embroiled in a custody battle with her ex, Billy McKeague.

The 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens came to play. However, her losing streak since the US Open continued as she dropped both matches. She is hurt and exhausted.

Belarusians Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich dug in deep and looked fantastic in their two singles victories over Stephens.

In doubles, the outcome was decidedly different. The Americans pushed forward, they returned very well at times, and when they had to, they put many shots at the net. In a sense, it does not matter who is playing, but when they get on court, you have to lock in, don’t become too nervous and hit the right way. At the end, the Americans did. 

By the way, bow-down to the captain, Kathy Rinaldi, who is calm and cool and smart. 

Federer v Sock at the ATP Finals in London 
There you go, Roger Federer won again. This time, he edged American Jack Sock 6-4 7-6(4) in the first round-robin match at the ATP Finals.

Fed has won this tournament many, many times indoors. On the hard courts, whether it be inside or out, he is superior. He mixes it up all the time. His serve is strong and it is difficult to find out which way he is going. His forehand is phenomenal, and for the past 10 months, his backhand has become more powerful. He can lose at times — they all can —  but there are only a few players who can legitimately beat Federer, like Rafa Nadal, who is on the other round-robin bracket. Hopefully, they can play each other towards the end of next week.
 
Sock was happy last week as he won Paris and qualified for the last ATP Finals singles slot. His rise to No. 9 is very surprising, given that from April through September, he did almost nothing. In France, he focused, moved inside the court and, believe it or not, was very effective at the net.

However, Sock needs to improve, obviously. His forehand is gigantic, and his backhand is OK, but he has to rip it crosscourt. Somehow, too, his legs need to be a little bit faster.

Federer should reach the semis, even with Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic rounding out their bracket. It should be a lot of fun — we hope.

Speak Your Mind

*