The Russian Tennis Federation won a decisive doubles match to hold off a resilient performance from the United States on Friday and advance to the final of the Billie Jean King Cup with a 2-1 victory.
The semifinal tie took nearly seven full hours to decide, after the traditional rivals split two topsy-turvy, three-set singles matches. Russian world No.40 Liudmila Samsonova recovered from a set down to beat Sloane Stephens, 1-6 6-4 6-3, despite hitting 41 unforced errors. American Danielle Collins then hit 50 winners to battle past 12th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-7(9) 7-6(2) 6-2.
After the teams split the two singles matches, Russians Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova beat Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-3 in a decisive doubles rubber in the semifinals of the competition formerly known as the Fed Cup.
The Russian team, back in the final for the first time since 2015, will now play Switzerland in Saturday’s title matchup at Prague’s O2 Arena.
The United States will now be placed into the pool of nations to play in the qualifying round in 2022, and will find out its opponent when the draw is conducted on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. The draw will be livestreamed on www.BillieJeanKingCup.com and the competition’s social media channels.