EVERETT, February 8, 2020 (USTA Press Release)
The United States looked every bit the Fed Cup contender on Friday night in taking a 2-0 lead over Latvia in front of a sellout crowd of 6,367 at Angel Of The Winds Arena in Everett, Wash. Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin defeated Anastasija Sevastova, 6-2, 6-2, and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams overcame a gamey effort from 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to win, 7-6(4), 7-6(3), to put the 18-time Fed Cup champion Americans one match victory away from a spot in the Finals in Budapest in April.
Kenin was still very much in form a week removed from her title in Melbourne, solving every riddle the 41st-ranked Latvian posed. The 21-year-old American moved at her usual quick pace and covered seemingly every inch of the court in her one-hour, eight-minute victory. Kenin came out on top in most statistical categories, including total winners (26-12) and backhand winners (12-3) and won four of 10 break points compared to 0-1 for Sevastova.
“I know her game well,’’ Kenin said the day before. “Obviously, she’s a tough player, a good player. She’s going to come out battling there.”
Williams, meanwhile, found her edge in the two set tiebreaks to fight off a 19-winner effort from Ostapenko, the 22-year old world No. 40 who has already featured in 26 Fed Cup ties since 2013. Williams, playing Fed Cup singles for the first time since 2015, was able to preserve her undefeated record in Fed Cup singles matches (14-0), by winning five straight points in a second-set tiebreak, which Ostapenko forced by breaking Williams while serving for the match at 6-5.
“It’s such a great team and we got off to a great start,’’ Serena said. “It’s such a great atmosphere. And I think we worked really hard. It was really fun.”
“I’ve played in front of so many crowds but I don’t think I’ve played in front of a crowd this loud” – @serenawilliams
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) February 8, 2020
Kenin will again kick off the slate on Saturday, taking on Ostapenko in a battle between Grand Slam champions. Williams vs. Sevastova is scheduled for the second singles match, followed by the doubles match, if necessary. Saturday’s schedule may be amended if the U.S. clinches victory in the third or fourth singles match.