2018 Year in Review: Consecutive
Fed Cup finals
Ashley Marshall | December 5, 2018
Love-15: As 2018 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the top 15 storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Now up, the depth of U.S. women's tennis was on full display, as Team USA reached its second straight Fed Cup final.
With a win over France in April's semifinal in Marseille, Team USA booked its place in the Fed Cup championship match for the second year in a row. It was the first time the U.S. was in back-to-back finals since 2009-10, and just the third time in the past two decades, along with 1999-2000.
Under the leadership of second-year captain Kathy Rinaldi, the defending champions fell in the 2018 finale to Fed Cup powerhouse Czech Republic in Prague, but not before giving the top-ranked team a scare inside the O2 Arena. Teenager and Fed Cup rookie Sofia Kenin pushed both Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova to three sets in eventual losses, as Rinaldi — who came into the final undefeated as captain — also nominated Fed Cup newcomers Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar to her squad.
Emphasizing the depth in American tennis, 11 different players were named to Rinaldi's three four-player squads in 2018, with only Coco Vandeweghe making repeat appearances for the red, white and blue.
The U.S. reached the 2018 final with a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands, in which Serena Williams made her competitive return to tennis after giving birth to daughter Olympia, and a 3-2 triumph on an indoor red clay court in France.
Despite the loss to the Czech Republic, the outlook for Team USA is positive headed into 2019, when it will host Australia in Asheville, N.C., in the quarterfinals in February. The U.S. has won seven of its past eight ties and will enter the New Year ranked No. 2 in the world behind only the new champions, who dethroned the U.S. in November.
The run to the 2018 final came 12 months after Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Sloane Stephens and Alison Riske edged Belarus in the 2017 championship match in Minsk.
For more American tennis highlights from 2018, be sure to check out our Year in Review page here.