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 Sofia 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 2-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 Bethanie 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.
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 wildcard nation Czech Republic. The Finals will be played on indoor red clay at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena.
The draw for the Finals will take place in Budapest on Tuesday, February 11, at noon ET. It will be live streamed at FedCup.com.