April 22, 2018 / 4:39 PM / a month ago

Keys sends U.S. into second straight Fed Cup final

(Reuters) - Madison Keys battled past Pauline Parmentier of France 7-6(4) 6-4 to lead the U.S. into their second consecutive Fed Cup final in Aix-en-Provence on Sunday.

Tennis - Fed Cup - World Group Semi Final - France vs United States - Arena Du Pays D'Aix, Aix-en-Provence, France - April 22, 2018 Madison Keys of the U.S celebrates after winning her singles match against Pauline Parmentier of France REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Keys, who was named as a late replacement for CoCo Vandeweghe, rallied back from 4-1 down to claim the opening set before a decisive break in the ninth game of the second ensured the victory.

Keys’ victory handed the defending champions an unassailable 3-1 lead over France in the semi-final tie before the hosts won the dead doubles rubber.

The French pair of Amandine Hesse and Kristina Mladenovic edged Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 3-6 10-6.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens thrashed Mladenovic 6-2 6-0 to collect her second singles victory this weekend.

Tennis - Fed Cup - World Group Semi Final - France vs United States - Arena Du Pays D'Aix, Aix-en-Provence, France - April 22, 2018 Madison Keys of the U.S poses for a photo with captain Kathy Rinaldi and team mates as she celebrates winning her singles match against Pauline Parmentier of France REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Stephens was aided by 25 unforced errors from world number 20 Mladenovic, whose touch eluded her far too often in the match.

“That was a really good one. You never anticipate a scoreline like the way it turned out but it was really solid,” Stephens said.

The Americans extended their winning record to 12-2 against the French.

They will defend their title on Nov. 10-11 against the Czech Republic, who reached the final by defeating Germany 4-1 in Stuttgart.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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