MINSK, Belarus – With or without Victoria Azarenka, Belarus can still succeed on the tennis court.
The former top-ranked player is taking time out with her baby son, but Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka stepped up Sunday to build an insurmountable 3-1 lead over the Netherlands in the Fed Cup quarterfinals.
Sasnovich is ranked 104 places below Dutch world No. 24 Kiki Bertens, but didn't let it show as she broke Bertens' serve seven times in a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Next up was 18-year-old Sabalenka, who dug deep to beat veteran Michaelle Krajicek 7-6 (5), 6-4 and put Belarus in the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time.
A doubles match between Belarus' Olga Govortsova and Vera Lapko and the Dutch duo of Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus is scheduled later Sunday.
Belarus will face either Switzerland or France in April's semifinals.