‘Couldn’t Ask For More’ – USA Team Captain Goes All Heart for the Team as USA Qualify for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals

Published 04/17/2022, 3:44 AM EDT

Rewriting history, team USA qualifies for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals. Playing at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, the third-seeded USA edged past Ukraine 3-2 in a thrilling two-day battle. The win doesn’t come as a surprise for many as looking at the stats, the USA has been the most successful team at the Billie Jean King Cup. Instead, what came as a surprise was Ukraine’s resilient performance, forcing the USA team to elevate their level to get past Ukraine.

USA captain goes gaga on winning the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier

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Kathy Rinaldi was appointed as USA’s captain in 2016. Since then, Rinaldi, a former player herself, has been guiding the team to success. Happy about her team’s performance, Rinaldi said, “I am incredibly proud of the team. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Ukraine showed one of its best performances at this year’s qualifiers. Struggling with the situation in their country, the players left no stone unturned to use tennis as a medium to stage their voice. Even though Ukraine players struggled on the first day of the tie, they made a massive comeback on the second day, winning back-to-back matches.

Addressing Ukraine’s game, Rinaldi said, “Congratulations to the Ukrainian team. They brought it. It was incredible tennis today from them. They have to be incredibly proud of themselves and their team”.

Being 2-2 in the singles rounds, USA’s captain Kathy Rinaldi took possibly the biggest risk by pushing in Billie Jean King Cup debutant Asia Mohammad as Jessica Pegula’s partner for the doubles. Even though many thought of it as a wrong move, the experienced captain proved herself right by replying to the world with the result that followed.

Being proud of the doubles pair, the captain said, “These two [Muhammad and Pegula] brought it in the doubles and closed it. I am super proud.”

The singles action

The two-day tie between USA and Ukraine took place on 15th-16th April. Match 1 of the tie featured USA’s Alison Riske taking on Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska. The first set started with both players going neck-to-neck. Not leaving room for error, the two took the first set into the tiebreaker. Neither of the two willing to go down went on to play a 34-point tiebreaker, with Riske finally winning 18-16. The second set also seemed similar to the first one as both players gave their all to win. However, after 2 hours and 19 minutes, it was Alison Riske who won the match 7-6, 7-5.

The second match featured USA’s Jessica Pegula taking on Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska. Unlike the first match, this one didn’t seem that intense as Pegula breezed past the Ukrainian player 6-2, 6-1, in just one hour and four minutes.

With the USA leading the first round of singles, it was now time for the reverse singles. In the third match, Jessica Pegula locked horns against Dayana Yastremska. However, unlike the previous match, Pegula failed to showcase her devastating game, as she struggled to match the motivated game of Yastremska. In a decently fought battle, Yastremska outplayed Pegula in 1 hour and 23 minutes.

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In the second match of the reverse singles, Alison Riske was replaced by Shelby Rogers. Playing against Katarina Zavatska, Rogers started on a high note. However, unlike the previous game, Katarina this time showed no mercy as she edged past the American 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

The final clash

With the scoreline tied at 2-2, the tie was now dependent on the outcome of the doubles. In the doubles tie, Asia Mohammad and Jessica Pegula took on the pair of Lyudmyla Kichenok and Dayana Yastremska. Despite a closely fought opening set, team USA had the last laugh as the pair of Pegula and Asia Mohammad clinched the tie 7-6(5), 6-3 to lead their country to a memorable victory.

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Watch this story- Top five moments of Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo Masters

In the finals, the USA will hope to get a better result than last year. Last year, the American team crashed out in the semifinals stage.

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Ahmar Wasif

792 articles

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.

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