CHARLESTON, SC, USA - After six days of play at the Credit One Bank Invitational, which brought 16 WTA stars to Charleston for a non-WTA exhibition team tournament, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin delivered the clinching victory.
The American pair secured Team Peace an insurmountable lead in overall points with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Team Kindness' Amanda Anisimova and Victoria Azarenka in the third of five matches on Sunday afternoon.
With each match win worth three points for each team on the afternoon, Team Peace needed just two wins to seal the tournament, having entered the day with a 20-13 lead in the standings.
“I was trusting them to do their thing. Everyone came here ready to win. I think everyone missed being competitive," Mattek-Sands said after her final doubles match.
"Even though this was a team event and it's not something we're used to, I think we had a lot of fun."
Sunday's slate of matches was meant to consist of doubles matches exclusively, but the day began in earnest with Shelby Rogers beating Mattek-Sands in singles action, 7-5, 7-5, in a match that was held over from Saturday night due to heavy rain.
As doubles play began, Team Peace was quick off the mark, with Eugenie Bouchard and Jennifer Brady sweeping aside Team Kindness captain Madison Keys and Alison Riske in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Brady, who scored singles victories over Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens over the course of the week, and also partnered Emma Navarro to beat Riske and Rogers in doubles.
That set the stage for Kenin and Mattek-Sands, who already had the experience of clinching a victory in 2020 when they teamed to win the deciding doubles rubber for Team USA against Latvia in Fed Cup in February, and they did not disappoint.
"Team Peace really pulled through. Jen Brady, winning all her matches, I think we have to give her MVP," Mattek-Sands continued.
"Everyone pulled their weight, everyone was playing amazing... but I'm proud of my whole team. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully, I'll get to do this again."
Kenin went 2-0 in doubles alongside Mattek-Sands during the exhibition tournament, as she beat Riske and fell to Keys in a match tiebreak in singles over the course of the week.
"I'm really happy to have been on Beth's team and I just tried to... just focus on what I need to do," Kenin added.
"I was super happy to be on this team and wanted to play some matches. I feel like all of us really missed playing matches, and all of us missed competition. We've played [together] a few times, and we're just really good together."
After Team Peace clinched the overall victory, Team Kindness' Rogers and Sloane Stephens beat Caroline Dolehide and Ajla Tomljanovic, 7-5, 6-2, before Monica Puig and Leylah Fernandez wrapped up the weekend by saving two match points to beat Navarro and Danielle Collins, 6-2, 4-6, 11-9.
With the final margin of the event falling in favor of Team Peace, 26-22, the exhibition event also raised upwards of $150,000 to support frontline healthcare workers at the Medical University of South Carolina, which assisted in creating the strict social distancing protocols for the event. In addition, the players combined to serve 90 aces over six days, adding $9,000 to the total.