Both Danielle Collins and Sofia Kenin secured singles victories in Group A, positioning the U.S. Billie Jean King Cup team for a crucial win-or-go-home showdown against the Czech Republic on Friday at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville. Their triumphs contributed to a decisive 3-0 win over Switzerland on Thursday in the first of two group-stage ties.
Danielle Collins secured victory over Switzerland’s Celine Naef with a scoreline of 7-6(4) 6-1, while Sofia Kenin triumphed against Viktorija Golubic in a hard-fought match, concluding with a score of 6-3 6-7(1) 7-5. Additionally, the American doubles pairing of Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend emerged victorious, defeating Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert 6-1 7-6(3).
Collins expressed admiration for captain Kathy Rinaldi and shared that her heightened motivation stemmed from the awareness that this tournament marked the captain’s final appearance with the team:
It did go through my head that this is Kathy’s last match, and I want to do my best not just for my teammates but for Kathy in particular because it is her last match. You know, I really just hope that all of us can make this week as memorable as possible for her.
Players have consistently found support in Rinaldi, in all aspects of their lives, as Collins explained:
I think that separates Kathy from so many of the coaches, from my experience, is just her care for us as people. I think her coaching record speaks for itself, and she’s been very successful with the teams over the years, and obviously on the court she had a tremendous amount of success as a player. What really stands out to me the most, honestly, is the way she treats all of us and how she’s been true friends to all of us. Whether it’s been through big wins, really tough losses, personal challenges, she has been there for all of us.
The upcoming match against the Czechs on Friday holds the key to determining which nation advances from Group A to Saturday’s semifinals. The Czech team, having previously defeated Switzerland 3-0 on Tuesday, boasts a formidable lineup featuring No.7 Marketa Vondrousova, No.10 Barbora Krejcikova, No.34 Marie Bouzkova, No.41 Linda Noskova, and former doubles No.1 Katerina Siniakova.
The eagerly anticipated clash with the Czech Republic is scheduled to commence not before 10 a.m. ET on Friday, following the conclusion of the Kazakhstan vs. Slovenia match.