No Williams, no problem, as US beats Australia at Fed Cup

Even without Serena and Venus Williams, the United States was too strong for Australia in their Fed Cup playoff, clinching a spot in the elite eight-nation World Group next year with a 4-0 sweep.

CoCo Vandeweghe replaced Madison Keys in the opening reverse singles match on Sunday and came from a set and a break down to beat Australian No. 1 Sam Stosur 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, giving the Americans an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff on temporary indoor clay court at Pat Rafter Arena.

Vandeweghe saved two breakpoints in the last game before closing with a service winner.

The U.S. traveled to Australia without its leading three singles players, with the Williams sisters and Sloane Stephens skipping the playoff and leaving No. 25-ranked Keys as the highest-ranked player on the team.

U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez said Keys’ win in the opening singles match against Daria Gavrilova gave the Americans momentum, and Christina McHale’s 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over Stosur on Saturday gave her team a 2-0 lead and a lot of confidence in the best-of-five-match playoff.

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