US advances to Fed Cup Finals after doubles win over Latvia

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Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko reacts to winning a game against United States' Sofia Kenin in their third set during a Fed Cup qualifying tennis match Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

EVERETT, Wash. – Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was hoping not to have to take the court again after falling short in her singles match.

After Serena Williams was defeated for the first time in a Fed Cup singles match, it was left to Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands to get the United States into the Fed Cup Finals.

“I was cheering Serena on very loud. ... I was really nervous for you," Kenin said. “I was super excited. This is why we play, moments like these, and these moments we can remember forever.”

Kenin and Mattek-Sands teamed up for a 6-4, 6-0 doubles victory over Jelena Ostapekno and Anastasija Sevastova to give the U.S. a 3-2 win over Latvia in their Fed Cup qualifying match on Saturday night.

It was a more challenging day than expected for the Americans, who held a 2-0 lead entering the second day of singles matches. But Ostapenko beat Kenin in three sets, and Sevastova followed with a stunning three-set victory over Williams.

Kenin took the place of Alison Riske in doubles, her third match in barely 24 hours. While she may have looked fatigued in her three-set loss to Ostapenko earlier in the day, Kenin found a boost teaming with the energetic Mattek-Sands and clinched the Americans a trip to Budapest, Hungary, for the finals in April.

“The last match of the day, you don't know if it's going to count for something or if it's all coming down to it," Mattek-Sands said. "I'm ready for both. I've been in both situations.”

Doubles deciding the meeting was a surprise after both Kenin and Williams won on the opening night. Even after Kenin lost Saturday’s opening match, there was still Williams’ 14-0 mark in singles in her Fed Cup history.