Latvian sports roundup: tennis, figure skating and basketball

It was a nail-biting sports weekend for Latvian athletes and their fans. The Latvian tennis team narrowly lost 2:3 to team USA, the face-off between two NBA teams with Latvian players ended with a one-point margin and Deniss Vasiļjevs won first place at The Nordics & Nordics Open 2020 figure skating championships, according to organizers.

Fed Cup tennis loss

The Latvian women's tennis team came back from a 0:2 loss against the Americans on the first day, but lost the deciding doubles match, which ended with the team USA winning 3:2 overall at the Fed Cup Qualifiers in Everett, Washington on February 7-8, according to organizers.

“It was very special to play for my country and I was just playing my best today. I know it's hard to play against Team USA,” Latvian team member Aļona Ostapenko told media.

Latvian tennis players Anastasija Sevastova and Aļona Ostapenko lost to team USA players Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams in the first two singles matches on Friday, giving the US a 2:0 team lead. Sevastova lost to Kenin in two sets (2-6, 2-6), but Ostapenko put up a good fight against Williams taking two sets to a tie-breaker, which Williams won 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3).

On Saturday Ostapenko started the comeback by defeating Kenin in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Afterwards Sevastova served Willams the end to her 14-win singles Fed Cup winning streak, defeating the legend 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) and bringing the team total to 2:2.

“It was a really intense match. There were lots of points and lots of running,” Williams told media.

However in the decisive doubles match the already-tired Latvian pair of Ostapenko and Sevastova quickly lost to the US pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kenin in two sets 6-4 6-0, leading the US to a 3:2 win. This was the first time the Latvian women's team had played the US team.

 

 

Nordic figure skating championship victory

Latvian figure skater Deniss Vasiļjevs won in the Senior Men's category at The Nordics & Nordics Open figure skating championships, held in Stavanger, Norway on February 6-9, according to organizers.

On Saturday in the short program Latvian Olympian got 73.32 points, which is a way off from his personal best of 87.08. In the free skate on Sunday he earned 167.93 points, which was also a new personal best for the skater. This helped Vasiļjevs reach a personal best total of 241.25 points, which is 0.16 points more than his previous record at the 2019 Grand Prix in Moscow.

Three Latvians meet in NBA game

The Washington Wizards, which include Latvian basketball players Dāvis Bertāns ad Anžejs Pasečņiks, won a last-minute 119:118 victory over fellow Latvian Kristaps Porziņģis' team the Dallas Mavericks 119:118 on February 8, according to the National Basketball Association (NBA). 

Pasečņiks appeared on the court for 0.2 seconds to help defend his team's basket, which made the game a historical first - the first time three Latvian basketball players have been on the court at once in an NBA game. Bertāns scored the most, gaining 20 points and eight rebounds for his team, as well as three scoring assists. Porziņģis played less than usual as he broke his nose during the previous game, so he scored only 11 points.

Bradley Beal secured the game-winning points for the Wizards, and also was the top scorer of the game with 29 points. Seth Curry scored 20 points for the Mavericks. The American Latvian Association also organized a meet-and-greet with the Latvian players for around 600 fans to mark the historic occasion.

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