Published: Mon, April 23, 2018

USA through to second straight Fed Cup final after defeating France

USA through to second straight Fed Cup final after defeating France

Madison Keys then sealed the match with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 win over Pauline Parmentier to give the United States of America an insurmountable 3-1 lead. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELOFrench supporters cheer for their team during the Fed Cup World Group semi final tie between France and the United States in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, 21 April 2018. Stephens went 2-0 over the weekend to lead the team after losing both of her singles matches in the Final past year.

"It was a really good win", said Stephens. The players eventually advanced to the tiebreak, and they stayed within touching distance of each other until a Parmentier forehand went awry, giving Keys double set point.

She had pulled the Germans back into the tie with a determined 6-4, 6-2 win over Pliskova only for Kerber to fail to maintain the momentum against Kvitova. "I was getting nervous before this game", admitted Kvitova.

It was deja vu for the Frenchwoman, who had let a 5-1 first set lead slip against Stephens in the opening match before losing in straight sets. "So (I) just try to play with the full passion and with the full energy and concentration, full love for the sport until I can", Nadal, 31, said. Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe had both been undefeated in Fed Cup doubles play. "We are very fortunate to have such a strong group and now we are looking forward to what is going to be a great final", USA captain Kathy Rinaldi said.

Waiting for the U.S. in the November final are the Czechs, who swept past Germany 4-1 in the other semi-final in Stuttgart.

The U.S. Open champion delivered a ruthless display against the 20th-ranked Mladenovic and prevailed in 54 minutes. Fed Cup is special. Rinaldi now serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA - Pro Women for USTA Player Development.

The Czechs, who have home advantage over the Americans in the November 10-11 final, had won the title three times in a row until the U.S. dethroned them a year ago.

Australia were last in the elite group of the Fed Cup in 2015, while the Netherlands were trying to prolong their three-year stay in the top tier.In Miki, Japan plucked victory from the jaws of defeat as the hosts beat Britain 3-2 to seal a return to the Fed Cup's elite level after a four-year absence.

Petra Kvitova beat Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-2 in Stuttgart as the Czechs defeated Germany 4-1.

Rafael Nadal is the first to win a tournament 11 times with his record 31st Masters title.

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