RIGA, Latvia - Anastasija Sevastova helped Latvia seal a piece of Fed Cup history on home soil on Sunday.
The World No.12 sealed a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Rebecca Sramkova of Slovakia to help her country reach the World Group playoffs for the first time, in the first-ever Fed Cup tie played on Latvian ground.
The home team went up 2-0 after the first day of play in Riga on Saturday, in which Jelena Ostapenko outlasted Sramkova - a late replacement for the injured Viktoria Kuzmova in the tie - in three sets, and Sevastova rolled past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova with the loss of just four games.
"I knew it would be hard week, stressful week, a lot of things to do, but I still enjoyed it. For sure, it’s tough. It’s our first time. It’s new for us, but we dealt well, so I hope we can play again at home. We can be stressed a little bit and enjoy it too."
Latvia will look to enter the modern World Group for the first time in its history as an independent nation in April, having last contested in the elite tier of the competition in 1993, when the World Group contained 32 teams.
History had already been written for the Baltic nation on Saturday, as Ostapenko passed Larissa Savchenko for most Fed Cup wins in team history.
"I’m always very proud to play for my country. It’s like a different tournament when you’re representing your country. The motivation is completely different," Ostapenko told reporters on Saturday.
"It’s a team competition and you want to be part of the team. Not all the girls have the chance to represent your country. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to be as a team and to play the best for our country."
The Latvians made it a clean sweep in the deciding doubles rubber as well, as Ostapenko and Diana Marcinkevica defeated Schmiedlova and Tereza Mihalikova, 6-2, 6-3.
In 1993, Latvia was among the last 16 nations remaining, and should it take care of business once more this spring, its chance to make a run at the Fed Cup trophy could come as early as 2020.
"We have couple of good juniors, girls - we have good players and people watch tennis more, are interested," Sevastova said.
"People are more into tennis, more girls. Why not? You can see it’s possible. If you fight and if you work hard, everything is possible."