United States Defeat Latvia In Fed Cup Qualifiers

EVERETT, February 9, 2020 (USTA Press Release)

Depth and doubles was the ticket to Budapest for the U.S. Fed Cup team on Saturday in Everett, Wash., as Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin soothed a long and treacherous afternoon-turned-evening with a fifth-and-decisive doubles victory over two valiant Latvians to book the Americans’ trip to the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, Hungary, April 14-19.

A day the United States began with a 2-0 lead at 3:30 p.m. turned into a 2-2 tie as 9 p.m. came and went. First, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko defeated the newly-crowned Australian Open champion Kenin, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, with a powerful, fearless performance that breathed life into Team Latvia. Anastasija Sevastova rode that momentum to a 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(4), victory over Serena Williams in the day’s second singles, Williams’ first-ever Fed Cup singles loss in 15 matches. It was a two-hour, 25-minute war of attrition, after which Sevastova came right back out for doubles a half hour later.

That’s when U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi turned to Kenin – subbed in for Alison Riske – and Mattek-Sands, a team that together won the China Open title last fall and began 2020 with a 4-2 record. Mattek-Sands, previously 3-0 in fifth-and-decisive Fed Cup doubles matches, improved that record to 4-0 as she and Kenin wore down Sevastova and Ostapenko, 6-4, 6-0, in front of a second capacity crowd of 6,367 at Angel Of The Winds Arena.

“Team USA came in with a lot of momentum,” Mattek-Sands said. “We won both matches yesterday and as a doubles player here in the last match of the day, I didn’t know whether it was going to count for anything or it was all coming down to it. I was ready for both situations. Either way, I was bringing my energy to cheer on my teammates and bring it on the court. I was ready.”

The U.S. now heads to Budapest to attempt to add to its record 18 Fed Cup titles, joining fellow qualifiers Russia, Spain, Belgium, Belarus, Germany, Switzerland and Slovakia; 2019 finalists Australia and France; host nation Hungary and wild-card nation Czech Republic. The Finals will be played on indoor red clay at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena.