Both Gauff and McNally earned their first Billie Jean King Cup victory with the triumph, and they are the 83rd and 84th players to adapt to Team USA all-time. While Gauff was named to the squad in the 2020 qualifying round but didn’t play, this final is McNally’s debut.
“Kathy told me earlier today that I was going to play doubles, so I don’t think it’s easy to sit around all day, but I was super motivated to go for it,” McNally said. “When I heard I was playing with Coco, whoever it was, I was excited to play, but we haven’t played together in a while. Like she said, our games manage each other very good. We get along, we have so much fun. I think that’s the key, is that we just enjoy each other’s presence.
“I think we played amazing tonight and I couldn’t have asked for a better debut.”
Collins and Keys both picked up straight-set wins over their Polish opponents last month at the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara, but faced much tougher tests from their lower-ranked opponents this time around- this. Despite 102 places between them in the standings, Collins was given all she could handle thanks to Frech’s combination of strong defense and strong serve; after losing the last three games of the second set, they fell behind on an early break at 2-1 in the third.
The reigning Australian Open final immediately equalized and saved two more break points at 2-2 and another at 4-4. At the tie-break, she found her best tennis; a forehand forehand winner gave her a 4-2 lead at the change of ends, and she emphatically closed the match just over a moment later with two unreturned serves.
“I’m relieved to have reached the finish line, obviously not playing my best tennis there at times,” Collins, who hit 47 game winners and 45 unforced errors, said during his interview on the ground. “So [it’s] kinda hard when you face that when playing in a team, because you want to win for your team so much and do your best.
“I just felt like I was missing a lot from this game and just not playing at my normal level. I just had to be patient and try to get myself enough pace and make adjustments as much as possible, and just stay in it and fight. … So that’s all I was like, ‘Don’t give up.'”
After Gauff and McNally’s victory ended after 12:30 a.m. local time, the United States will have a well-deserved day off after a game on Thursday. On Friday, the team are looking to book their place in the semi-finals when they face the Czech Republic on center court, not before 4:30 p.m. local time. The match will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel.