In this article, for every tie there will be the nominations, venue, background about the tie and the players and then the predictions of me and my fellow writers here at Ubitennis.net
World Group Semifinals
Czech Republic – Switzerland
Nominations: Czech Republic has to play the tie without their Top 2 players, Kvitova and Safarova. With these limitations, the team of Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Strycova, Denisa Allertova and Lucie Hradecka was nominated. The Swiss were also weakened, by Belinda Bencic. However Switzerland lacks the depth of players that Czech Republic has. The team right now is Timea Bacsinszky, Viktorija Golubic and Martina Hingis, with the fourth player yet to be nominated.
Venue: This tie will be played in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Hard court (Rebound Ace), Indoor
Background: The Swiss seemed to be the favorites until the withdrawal of Bencic, having two Top 20 players. Now it seems that the Swiss No. 2 will be World No. 129 Viktorija Golubic. The decision to put the tie on an indoor hard court might seem a bit illogical, as next week the tour will move on to clay, and Bacsinszky has had better results on clay then on hard courts. Both Pliskova and Strycova prefer hard courts over clay, which makes the choice of surface even more absurd. Martina Hingis has not confirmed nor denied making another singles comeback for Fed Cup, like against Poland last year.
Me: On Saturday I predict Pliskova to defeat Golubic easily and for Bacsinszky to take the win over Strycova in 3 tough sets. Day 2 will be Pliskova getting her first win over Bacsinszky, and for Strycova to seal the deal against Golubic. The Czechs will advance to the finals 3-1.
Adam Addicott: Czech Republic wins.
Bruno Bergareche: With everyone available and playing at home I would have backed Switzerland but with Bencic out injured I think Czech Republic are marginal favourites.
Diego Sampaolo: Czech Republic will continue its proud tradition and qualify for the final, as Switzerland will play without Belinda Bencic.
France – Netherlands
Nominations: France is bringing their best team to the tie, getting all of their Top 50 players, Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet. Pauline Parmentier will be completing the team. Their opponents are also bringing their best. The surprise semifinalists of Netherlands are bringing their only Top 100 player Kiki Bertens. As for the remaining players Richel Hogenkamp, Cindy Burger and Arantxa Rus, any of them could play as the Dutch No. 2 player.
Venue: This tie will be played on indoor clay in Trélazé, France
Background: Netherlands have been surprising everyone in Fed Cup over the past 2 years, first getting into World Group, and now outing Russia to make the semifinals. The Dutch always get up for the Fed Cup ties and that’s why France should not underestimate them. Especially because none of their Top 3 players are not in a good form.
Me: I believe that Netherlands will be able to pull of the upset. All Bertens, Hogenkamp and Rus are pretty good clay-courters, and I think that they’ll be able to get two wins on Day 1. On Day 2 I expect Mladenovic to beat Bertens, but then for Hogenkamp to finish the tie off against Garcia or Mladenovic. I think that Netherlands will win 3-1 and be the surprise finalist.
Adam Addicott: France win with ease.
Bruno Bergareche: As for the second semifinal, I think Netherlands fairy tale run has to come to an end against one of the most solid teams in France.
Diego Sampaolo: France is the clear favourite against the Netherlands.
World Group Play-Offs
Russia – Belarus
Nominations: Russia will be coming into this without their Top 3 players, not counting Sharapova. Daria Kasatkina and Margarita Gasparyan will most probably play the singles, Elena Vesnina is the doubles specialist on the team, and Elizaveta Kulichkova completes the squad. Belarus had to deal with not having Azarenka on their team, but that is not the case this time. World No. 5 Victoria Azarenka will lead the team of Olga Govortsova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka.
Venue: This tie will be played in Moscow on an indoor clay court.
Background: Both No. 1 players of each team had an amazing year, Azarenka winning the ‘Sunshine Double’ and rising to No. 5. Belarus has the Top 10 player, but Russia has the depth in their team, meaning that this compelling tie might be decided in the fifth rubber.
Me: I predict that Azarenka will win both her singles matches, while Gasparyan and Kasatkina beat the Belarus No. 2. I think that the tie will be decided in the doubles. I believe that the team of Kasatkina and Vesnina for Russia will beat the Belarussian team of Azarenka and Govortsova or Sasnovich. Russia will win 3-2.
Adam Addicott: Russia wins
Bruno Bergaracha: Russia wins
Diego Sampaolo: Russia wins
Spain – Italy
Nominations: Spain is coming into the tie with both of their best players, Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. Sara Sorribes Tormo will come in play in case of an injury, and Anabel Medina Garrigues is the doubles specialist of the team. Italy also got their top two players, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani. Since Camila Giorgi refused to attend the tie, Karin Knapp and Francesca Schiavone are in the team.
Venue: This tie will be played in Lleida, Span on an outdoor hard court.
Background: Carla Suarez Navarro and Roberta Vinci had splendid season so far, so it will be very interesting to see those two play each other and how the match goes. Suarez Navarro is also tied to Sara Errani, whom she played doubles with this year so far, so something to look for in their match, if they play each other, will be the chemistry between them throughout the match, the post-match handshake etc.
Me: I predict Spain to roll through Italy this tie, winning the first three rubbers. After 3-0 the dead rubber doubles will be a coin flip. Spain will win 3-0.
Adam Addicott: Spain wins.
Bruno Bergaracha: I hope Spain wills, despite that upsetting a couple of people here at Ubitennis.
Diego Sampaolo: Spain wins.
Romania – Germany
Nominations: Both teams seem to have brought all the players the captains wanted to this tie, just confirming the quality of it. Romania will be led by World No. 6 Simona Halep, Monica Niculescu and Irina-Camelia Begu are going to bring their best to deserve the No. 2 spot on the team. Alexandra Dulgheru will be completing the team. Barbara Rittner also brought the best German players for the tie. Angelique Kerber is the clear No. 1, Andrea Petkovic will most probably be No. 2. Annika Beck and Julia Goerges are also available on the team.
Venue: Romania selected the same venue in Cluj as against Czech Republic. Once again it will be played on indoor clay.
Background: Simona Halep didn’t reach her heights this season, and wasn’t very impressive thus far. Kerber has had her ups and downs. Won the Australian Open and reached semifinals of Miami, but lost to Saisai Zheng and Denisa Allertova this year. Kerber had to retire from Charleston due to viral illness, so we will see if and how she recovered from it.
Me: I feel that this tie could really go either way, Kerber has had a better year, but Halep has the home advantage and the advantage of the surface. Andrea Petkovic, Annika Beck, Monica Niculescu and Irina-Camelia Begu are, I think, all at the same level on clay right now, so whichever will go into their matches can win. I feel this match will come down to doubles, in which I predict Romania winning. Romania will win 3-2.
Adam Addicott: Germany wins.
Bruno Bergaracha: I think Romania will edge Germany on clay.
Diego Sampaolo: Germany wins.
Australia – USA
Nominations: Compared to their last tie with Slovakia, Australia now has the advantage of Daria Gavrilova being able to play in Fed Cup, which might prove to be the deciding factor in this tie. Other than Gavrilova there is also Samantha Stosur for the singles, Casey Dellacqua and Arina Rodionova as doubles players. USA didn’t manage to get neither of the Williams’ sisters, nor Sloane Stephens as the tie is played in Australia. Madison Keys will be the No. 1 of the team, Coco Vandeweghe will most probably play as the No. 2. There is also Christina McHale and the World No. 3 in doubles Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Venue: This tie will be played in the well known Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane. The change from the tournament that is usually played there will be that this tie is going to be played on an outdoor clay court.
Background: This tie seems to be almost ridiculously equal, with Stosur and Keys being the No. 26 and 25, Gavrilova and Vandeweghe being No. 39 and 36, and Dellacqua and Mattek-Sands being the No. 6 and 3 in doubles. Gavrilova seems to be crucial in her debuting tie. Both Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe have their worst results on clay, while Stosur has reached the Roland Garros final in her career and Gavrilova made the semifinal in Madrid last year.
Me: I predict that the score will be 1-1 after Day 1, with Stosur and Keys taking the wins, but on Day 2 it will be the Aussie show with Stosur and Gavrilova getting wins. I predict, unlike my colleagues, that Australia wins 3-1.
Adam Addicott: USA wins.
Bruno Bergaracha: I’m going for a tight USA win in Australia.
Diego Sampaolo: USA wins.
World Group II Play-Offs
In the Play-Offs for World Group II, Serbia without Ivanovic and Jankovic will face strong Belgium led by Wickmayer and Flipkens.
A solid Slovak team of Schmiedlova and Cibulkova in the singles will face a Bouchard-less Canada, without a player in the Top 250 at home.
Poland without the Radwanska sisters and Linette will face Chinese Taipei without Su-Wei Hsieh and Chan sisters. This seems to be the only tie in which the winner is unclear and also the only tie without a Top 100 player playing.
A strong Ukraine team led by Tsurenko and Bondarenko will host Argentina without a Top 200 player on the hard courts.
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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