“I Was Cheering for Serena” – Sofia Kenin

Published 02/10/2020, 8:16 AM EST


The qualifying round of the Fed Cup between the USA and Latvia went down to the wire. Ultimately, it was the Americans who won the deciding doubles rubber to win the round. In the post-match press conference, Sofia Kenin talked about cheering Williams on.

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Team USA looked very comfortable with a 2-0 lead against Latvia on the first day. All they needed was another victory and the round was wrapped up. But Latvia showed tremendous fight to keep themselves in the tie.

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After taking a 2-0 lead, the Americans lost the following two matches to enable Lativa to go level at 2-2.

Kenin and Serena Williams both won their opening singles matches against Anastasija Sevastova and Jelena Ostapenko respectively, to give the USA a 2-0 lead. In the following two singles rubbers, it was the other way round. Ostapenko and Sevastova beat Kenin and Williams to level the contest at 2-2.

Sofia Kenin cheers Williams

In a reverse of the first two singles matches, Kenin faced Ostapenko, while Williams faced Sevastova. Kenin lost the third singles rubber to Ostapenko 3-6, 6-2, 2-6.

Now it all came down to Serena’s singles match against Sevastova. The 23-time Major winner was the heavy favourite, as she almost always is. But Sevastova was up to the enormous challenge of inflicting a maiden loss on Williams in 15 Fed Cup matches.

The Latvian took the first set in a tie-break (7-5) after a very tight contest and Williams hit back by winning the second set 6-3. It all came down to the third and final set. Sofia Kenin, on the bench, knew she would have to sub in and play the deciding doubles match if Serena lost the final set.

Understandably, she was a bit nervous watching Serena.

“I was cheering Serena on very loud. I was going all out. I have never been nervous watching anyone, so I was really nervous for you.”

Williams did lose the final set in another tie-break (7-4) to take the Play-0ffs to the final rubber. Kenin was more than happy to go out on the court and fight for her country.

Matthek-Sands and Kenin take USA through

“Well, I was obviously looking forward for the doubles. I knew this was a great opportunity to represent my country, especially with Bethanie. We have great times together, so I knew it was going to be a tough match. But I was ready to fight out there and leave everything out.”

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So it all came down to the last rubber. A doubles match between the two countries. Kenin paired up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, to play the Latvian pair of Ostapenko and Sevastova. The Americans won 6-4, 6-0 to win the qualifying round.

“Yeah, I was just super happy, super excited. This is why we play. And moments like these and these moments you’re going to remember forever.”

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With this victory over Latvia, USA has booked their place in the Fed Cup finals, which will take place in Hungary in April.

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Samir Satam

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