United States Defeat Latvia In Fed Cup Qualifiers

Team USA qualified for the Fed Cup Finals (photo: Andrew Ong/USTA)

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.