First day of the Fed Cup tie played in Leipzig brought us two straight set matches between Angelique Kerber and Timea Bacsinszky; and Belinda Bencic against Andrea Petkovic. Both No. 1 players won as expected. Despite both all players being inside Top 25, the matches were mostly one-sided.
Petkovic then put a lot of
pressure on Bencic’s serve but the Swiss dealt with it very well, held her serve after two deuces and set up Petkovic to serve to stay in the first set. Petkovic seemed panicked on her serve, lost 4 points in a row on her serve, thus losing the first set 3-6.
In the second set, Petkovic came out with a much better level of her game and Bencic maintained hers. We saw 5 more or less straightforward service games in a row. During the long important game at 2-3, at advantage for Germany, a ballkid moved just a couple of seconds before Bencic hit a winner, which ended in a heated discussion between the umpire, Swiss captain and Bencic and resulted into replaying the point, with which the Swiss were less than happy about. At the replay, Petkovic served an ace and equaled to 3-3. However Bencic did not let herself lose her cool and easily held to 4-3, putting pressure on Petkovic. The 4-3 game on the German’s serve was definitely key, Petkovic showed off her mental strength, putting away two break points and taking away Bencic’s chance to serve for the match. Bencic once again held easily, making Petkovic serve to stay in the match. Petkovic didn’t take the pressure well, Bencic played a great return game and broke Petkovic to win the match. Overall I must say that I was really impressed with Bencic’s game, she played aggressively throughout the match, served at 70% first serves in and won 74% of her first serve points. Petkovic didn’t play bad, nor did she play exceptionally well. However it was a big step up from the match she played at Australian Open where she lost to Elizaveta Kulichkova.
Belinda Bencic (SUI) – Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3 6-4
In the second match of Day 2, we had the Swiss No. 2 Timea Bacsinszky challenging the Australian Open 2016 champion and the World No. 2, Angelique Kerber. I had my doubts about Kerber coming into this match, about how she will handle the pressure, about possible fatigue but she went out and played an amazing match. Bacsinszky was in a bit of a slump in Australia, not winning back to back matches. Kerber winning over 80% of points after her first serve was really one of the defining factors in the first set. We saw definitely less winners and more rallying than in the first match. Kerber started really well, stunning Bacsinszky and she just wasn’t losing many points, Bacsinszky had to work for almost all her points. Kerber had 2 set points at 5-0, but Bacsinszky kept on fighting and won her first game. Then Kerber easily served out and ended the first dominating set 6-1.
In the second set, Kerber’s level went down a bit in the beginning but then she got her head back in the game and broke her opponent at 2-2. From then on we saw both players hold without any deuces until 5-3 with Bacsinszky serving. An amazing game played by both Kerber and Bacsinszky, who really brought out her best when she was under the pressure of match points. She managed to save 3 until she double faulted and lost the match.
Angelique Kerber (GER) – Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 6-1 6-3
Overall the matches ended as I predicted, with the wins of the No. 1 from each country, although I expected a little more drama and closer matches. Tomorrow, you can be excited for the matches:
Angelique Kerber – Belinda Bencic
Andrea Petkovic – Timea Bacsinszky
Beck/Groenefeld – Golubic/Hingis*
*If the doubles will be the deciding match, the teams will most definitely change
Great Britain To Play Billie Jean King Cup Finals After Glasgow Picked As Host Nation
The UK will stage the finale of the women’s biggest team tennis event for the first time in over 30 years.
The International Tennis Federation has selected Glasgow as the host nation of this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals following a successful bid from the British LTA.
A total of 12 nations will participate in the six-day event which will be held between November 8-13 at the Emirates Arena. A facility originally built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games that has since staged various events, including Davis Cup ties. It has a seating capacity of roughly just over 8000 people. This year’s finals will be held on indoor hardcourts.
It is only the fourth time Britain has staged the finals of the tournament which was previously known as the Fed Cup. It was previously held in London 1963, Eastbourne 1977 and Nottingham 1991.
“We are delighted to be bringing the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals to Glasgow. The LTA presented a very impressive bid as part of a competitive hosting process. They have successfully hosted Davis Cup ties in Glasgow, and we look forward to having the women’s World Cup of Tennis take place in front of passionate tennis fans from around the world in an electric atmosphere, at the culmination of the women’s tennis season.” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement.
Great Britain automatically qualifies for the final as they are the hosts. They will be joined by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland and USA. The format of the round-robin event will see the teams split into four groups of three. The will of each group will then progress to the knockout stages.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to build the profile of women’s tennis and focus attention on women’s sport. The entire team are very excited about playing in front of a home crowd and hearing some loud support across the whole week.” British captain Anne Keothavong commented.
The Russian Tennis Federation won the tournament last year but they will not be allowed to participate this year. Russian and Belarussian teams have been suspended from taking part in ITF team events as the result of the Ukraine war. Russia launched a ‘special military’ operation on February 24th and Belarus is suspected of supporting them.
The draw for the Billie Jean King Cup finals will take place at a later date.
Emma Raducanu Believes Clay Could Be ‘One Of Her Strongest’ Surfaces
The world No.12 is yet to play a Tour event on the clay but she has high hopes for the future.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu may still be relatively new to the WTA Tour but she believes the upcoming clay swing could help provide her with the foundations to shine on the surface.
Raducanu, who made her WTA debut last June, is yet to play a Tour event on the clay. In fact, she has never played a senior event of any kind on the surface. However, during her junior event she played in nine clay tournaments between 2016-2018, including the 2018 girls French Open where she lost in the second round to Denmark’s Clara Tauson.
Despite her lack of experience, the Brit remains confident that she will be able to thrive on the surface. Speaking to reporters ahead of her country’s Billie Jean Cup tie with the Czech Republic, which will take place on clay, Raducanu believes her love for sliding on the court will help her in the coming years.
“I feel this could be one of my strongest surfaces going forward but of course it’s early days right now,” she said.
“I feel like I have got a lot more potential physically. And I do enjoy sliding. So, after spending more time on this surface, I’m sure I’ll time it better and learn more about the surface but also just the time that the clay brings. I feel like I can really use it and play aggressive.”
Since her breakthrough run at the US Open last September, Raducanu has struggled to maintain her form with a series of disappointing results. So far this season the rising star has managed to win just two out of seven matches played. Four out of her five losses were to players ranked outside the world’s top 50.
Part of the problem for the 19-year-old has been her own body. She has suffered from a hip injury which forced her to retire from a match in Mexico earlier this year and has also been hindered by blisters. Furthermore, Raducanu revealed that she has also lost all of her toenails. Prompting British team captain Anne Keothavong to joke that everybody is ‘a little bit scared’ by her toes.
“I have no toenails,” Raducanu stated.
“It was just my foot, my shoes, they’ve just been sliding around a lot [in the shoe].
“I had a small niggle in Miami but now I have no physical thing.”
Raducanu will be hoping to lead her country to victory in their Billie Jean King Cup tie which will be held in Prague. It will be the first time she has ever played in the event.
“I love playing as a team, especially the team we’ve got here,” she said.
“I feel like everyone has been a lot of fun and there’s been a great connection off court, whether that’s playing murder mystery games or cornhole, we’re definitely bonding and gelling very well.”
Raducanu is the only top 20 player participating in the tie.
Great Britain Handed Tough Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers Draw Against Czech Republic
Great Britain have a tough test in the Czech Republic in the BJK Cup qualifiers in April.
Great Britain will need to beat the Czech Republic away if they want to qualify for next year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals after the draw was made today.
Anne Keothavong’s team beat Mexico earlier in the year to earn a place in the qualifiers next year.
However in today’s draw, Great Britain will need to overcome a huge test as they will go to the Czech Republic next April.
Czech Republic have won six of the last nine Billie Jean King Cups and boast the likes of Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Krejcikova, Marketa Vondrousova, Katarina Siniakova and Petra Kvitova.
Speaking after the draw Keothavong is looking forward to the test that awaits them in April, “The team are really looking forward to taking on Czech Republic in our 2022 qualifier and hopefully continuing our momentum in the Billie Jean King Cup next year,” she told skysports.com.
The Czechs are currently hosting this year’s finals and fell at the semi-final stage after losing a tight match to Switzerland.
Other key matches sees a repeat of this year’s group stage match between Belgium and Belarus while USA will host Elina Svitolina’s Ukraine team.
Here are the ties with the qualifiers taking place on the 15-16th of April next year with the finals happening next November:
Czech Republic v Great Britain
Australia v Slovakia
France v Italy
USA v Ukraine
Belarus v Belgium
Germany v Kazakhstan
Canada v Latvia
Spain v Netherlands
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