Stephens gives 2-1 lead to US Fed Cup team against France

Fed Cup: No Serena and Venus Williams, no problem as USA aim to cement place in second consecutive final

Fed Cup: Sloane Stephens to open for US against France in semis

The Czech Republic will face defending champions US in the Fed Cup final.

It was world No. 20 Mladenovic who had given France a chance when ending Coco Vandeweghe's 13-match Fed Cup win streak to pull France level at 1-1 Saturday. Madison Keys gave US the third and decisive point to seal the third ever win against France in the competition.

"The Fed Cup has been extremely important for me both as a player and a person", said the 26-year-old New Yorker.

Earlier, Petra Kvitova put the Czech Republic into a sixth Fed Cup final in eight years following her win against Angelique Kerber in the other semifinal in Stuttgart. The U.S. plays the Czech Republic in the final.

"I knew I had to start very strong today and continue that throughout".

"From the beginning of the match, I knew I had all the weapons". Julia Goerges earned a hard fought 6-4, 6-2 win over Karolina Pliskova to keep German hopes alive. EPA-EFE/DANIEL KOPATSCHRomania's Simona Halep in action during her singles match against Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic for the Fed Cup World Group play-off tie between Romania and Switzerland in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 21 April 2018. The Us Open champion made the more confident start against Kiki Mladenovic.

Stephens beat French No. 2 Pauline Parmentier 7-6 (3), 7-5 to start the proceedings, but after Vandeweghe started like a freight train against French No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman turned the tables for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to even the tie at 1-1.

In 2017, the United States won the tournament for the 18th time with a nerve-racking 3-2 victory over Belarus which was only decided in the last doubles rubber when CoCo Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers claimed the winning point. Thanks to Keys' stubborn performance, United States of America is bidding to win 7 consecutive Fed Cup ties for the first time since 1989-91, when the team sealed 14 straight wins. "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" said Kathy Rinaldi.

"Every time it feels exciting and we are happy to be in the final", said Kvitova.

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