Tennis

Sofia Kenin bounces back from defeat to help US book Fed Cup spot

Newly minted Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams lost to their Latvian opponents yesterday, but the United States managed to hold off Latvia's comeback and win their Fed Cup qualifier 3-2.

The Americans had taken a commanding 2-0 lead at the Angel of the Wings arena in Everett, Washington, last Friday.

Kenin defeated world No. 41 Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-2, while Williams, playing her first Fed Cup match since 2018, beat Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) to take her perfect singles record in the women's nations tournament to 14-0.

But yesterday, Kenin lost 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to Ostapenko.

Williams was up next with a chance to clinch it against Sevastova, but she lost 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

But Kenin teamed up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to beat Ostapenko and Sevastova 6-4, 6-0 in the decisive doubles .

They join already-qualified Spain, Australia, France, Czech Republic and Hungary in the 12-team Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

Spain booked their place after sweeping Japan aside 3-0, with Naomi Osaka watching from the sidelines.

The former world No. 1 made a string of errors in a surprise 6-0, 6-3 defeat by world No. 78 Sara Sorribes Tormo last Friday and was replaced in the third singles by Kurumi Nara, ranked 127 places beneath her.

Nara lost 6-1, 6-3 to Carla Suarez Navarro, who had beaten Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-4 earlier. - AFP

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