U.S. edges Ukraine in Billie Jean King Cup qualifier

Asia Muhammad and doubles partner Jessica Pegula of the United States celebrate a point against Ukraine during the second round of the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier at Harrah's Cherokee Center on April 16, 2022 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

The United States held off Ukraine 3-2 to advance to the Billie Jean King Cup finals in November.

Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula defeated Lyudmyla Kichenok and Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (5), 6-3 in Saturday’s doubles matchup to clinch the qualifier for the United States.

Singles wins from Alison Riske and Pegula propelled the United States to an early 2-0 lead, but Ukraine was quick to respond.

Bouncing back, Yastremska downed Pegula in the third singles match, while Katarina Zavatska defeated Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth match to tie things up heading into the decisive doubles head-to-head.

“I wasn’t really expecting to play today, but I’m happy we were able to clinch it,” said Muhammad following the doubles match. “The support of our team was amazing and to be able to look at them and feel them riding every single point with us helped a lot.”

Yastremska spoke about what it meant to represent Ukraine, especially amid the Russian invasion.

“I’ve always been proud of my country and I’ve always been proud I’m Ukrainian and I always like to represent my country, but now, in this moment, it’s tough to describe it,” said Yastremska. “My heart stays at home and I really want to go back there, but my mind is here.”

The United States will advance to the Billie Jean King Cup finals, while Ukraine will compete in the Play-offs come November.