Ukraine comeback falls short as U.S. win Billie Jean King Cup qualifier

A day that started with an American victory seemingly a fait accompli after the hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on Friday turned into a tense afternoon in North Carolina when both singles matches were won by the underdogs.

FILE PHOTO: After world 93 Yastremska beat 14th-ranked Jessica Pegula(in picture) to keep the tie alive, an inspired 201st-ranked Zavatska toppled Shelby Rogers in another upset.   -  AP

A gallant comeback by Ukraine ultimately ended in disappointment for the team representing the war-torn nation as the United States won the deciding doubles rubber at a Billie Jean King Cup qualifier on Saturday.

A day that started with an American victory seemingly a fait accompli after the hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on Friday turned into a tense afternoon in North Carolina when both singles matches were won by the underdogs.

Buoyed by an enthusiastic section of Ukrainian fans who turned the tie almost into a home game at times at the indoor arena in Asheville, Dayana Yastremska and Katarina Zavatska won their respective matches 6-3 6-4 over higher-ranked opponents.

After world 93 Yastremska beat 14th-ranked Jessica Pegula to keep the tie alive, an inspired 201st-ranked Zavatska toppled Shelby Rogers in another upset.

READ | Tsitsipas downs Zverev to reach another Monte Carlo final

"It's amazing. I felt all the stadium was more with me, even though we are in the USA," said Zavatska.

"I was in the zone completely. Today I was really into it so much, every point, fighting like crazy. I just had all the energy from the crowd supporting me.

"It's super nice being in a safe place here."

But Zavatska could only watch helplessly as Yastremska and Lyudmyla Kickenok fell to Rogers and Asia Muhammad 7-6(5) 6-3 in the doubles decider.

A double-fault by Kickenok that decided the first set tiebreak proved pivotal.

The United States breezed through the second set and advanced to the finals in November.

READ | Monte Carlo Masters: Davidovich Fokina beats Dimitrov to reach final

"That was a really tough match, especially the first set, we were having some crazy points and lot of ups and downs," said Pegula.

Added U.S. captain Rinaldi: "Congratulations to Ukraine, but (my players) brought it in the doubles and closed it out."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :