The Czech captain Petr Pala commented on the dramatic win and why does he think they came out on top today.”It was sensational the way they played. The key was the depth of our team today. It gave me more opportunities to make the doubles team. It is a great feeling for the camp. The spirit is there, everybody wants to win the cup.”
Bacsinszky and Pliskova have failed their duty as team No. 1 to take the win, but after getting upset, they had to get their heads back in the game for a mutual match. Bacsinszky was playing a lot better than yesterday, but it still wasn’t enough to defeat the tall Czech. The first set was very level, neither of the players were dominating. However Bacsinszky had break points at 1-0 and 2-1 which she didn’t confirm. Pliskova then finally got the first break in the match at 4-4. Pliskova successfully ended the first set with an ace and took the lead. Pliskova exposed Bacsinszky’s second serve really well, causing the Swiss to win only 29% of points after her second serve, while Pliskova won 84% of points on her first serve.
Bacsinszky’s service and overall performance then just dropped, allowing Pliskova to get two early breaks and a lead of 4-0. Pliskova didn’t choke away the match, end kept her focus as both players held. Bacsinszky’s percentage of points won after first serve dropped to 46%, while Pliskova was at 100%, winning all 12 points on first serve. Pliskova also did a great job of pushed Bacsinszky into mistakes. The Swiss produced 16 forced errors in the second set alone.
After her match, Pliskova said: “Obviously yesterday was a tough match and tough day for me because I didn’t expect to lose this one. Even physically I was a little bit down. I just had a good dinner, went to sleep and woke up on a new day with new energy and just tried to do my best.”
Viktorija Golubic played a must-win match against Barbora Strycova. Both players managed to pull of the upset on Saturday, and met in this crucial tie. Strycova put out a solid game in the first set, taking it 6-3 after a little bit of trouble in the final game, having to use 5 set points.
The second set was again very level, but was starting to get crazy in the end, as a string of 4 breaks in a row from 4-4 led to a tiebreak. Golubic had two opportunities the serve the set out, but didn’t even get a set point in either of them, so the match led to a tiebreak. The tiebreak was very level with only 3 breaks of serve, but Golubic came out on top in the second set, winning it after 74 minutes.
In the third set, Strycova started to show visible signs of fatigue, and her performance level started to decrease, while Golubic kept on. Golubic was just near perfect, winning 90% of points on first serve, getting 11 winners while making only 2 unforced errors. Golubic won the third set dominantly 6-1, and after 2 hours and 33 minutes sent the tie into deciding doubles.
Viktorija Golubic had to come back for doubles, due to Switzerland missing a player on their team. Golubic played with the World No. 1 Martina Hingis. Their opponents, representing Czech Republic were Lucie Hradecka and Karolina Pliskova. The Czechs were the dominating power in the doubles, as the Swiss team struggled on serve. The first break came on Hingis’ serve at 2-2. From there Hradecka and Pliskova won 3 more games to take the first set in 28 minutes. The Czech team played a very fast game, made it hard to get into rythm.
Lucie Hradecka made the observation as well: “I am happy with how we played,” Hradecka said. “Maybe I expected a closer match but I know if we play fast and we don’t give them a lot of time, it would be an advantage for us. It was great and I really enjoyed it.”
The second set was also controlled by Czech Republic, getting a break in the first game. Czechs broke again for 5-2, and Hradecka got to serve the match out, taking the first match point, as Hingis put the running forehand into the net.
Despite the loss, the Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt tried to focus on the positives: “I am very proud of my team. We left everything out on the centre court and I don’t there there is any question or any doubt in anyone’s mind that we did that. You can’t ask of a team anything more than that.”
The opponent of the Czech Republic in the final will be France, defeating Netherlands in the final doubles rubber as well.
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
Russia sends Canada packing on day 2 of the Billie Jean King Cup
Daria Kasatkina featured in Russia’s 3-0 win over Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup today.
The Russians were too good for the Canadians to overcome and they won all three rubbers.
Canada is officially going home after losing three straight rubbers to Russia in the morning session of day two at the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague on Court one.
Bad news for Canada
The day didn’t get off to good start for Canada as during their morning warm-up Francoise Abanda injured her toe and upon review decided she wouldn’t be able to play. Carol Zhao was subbed in for Abanda and played the first rubber against Daria Kasatkina.
Kasatkina gives first blood to Russia
The first three games of the first set went on serve and it was the Russian who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian to take a 3-1 lead but was broken the following game and the set went back on serve.
At 4-3, the world number 28 had another chance to break and once again broke as she won the first set.
The second set again stayed on serve for the first two games and again it was the Russian who broke first and managed to turn that break into a double break as she broke Zhao one last time to win the match.
Pavlyuchenkova handles Marino
Next up was Rebecca Marino from Vancouver up against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and the first four games were pretty tight and both players did a good job holding serve.
it was the Russian who was able to get the first break of serve to take a 3-2 lead and that was enough for her to serve out the first set and take it 6-4. The second set stayed on serve until 5-4 when Marino had three set points on her opponent’s serve and got the crucial break to send the match into a deciding third set.
The world number 12 was keen to get the win and pushed hard in the opening game of the third set and broke the Canadian to take an early 1-0 lead. At 3-1, the Russian earned five chances to break and go up a double break and it took her until the fifth one to break again.
Pavlyuchenkova served out the set and the match at 5-2 to seal the win and the tie for Russia.
Russia wins dead rubber doubles match
For the third and final match, a dead rubber doubles match was played between Marino and Gabriela Dabrowski facing off against the Russian duo of Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmilla Samsonova.
It was indeed the Russian who ended up with another straight-sets win beating the Canadians 6-3, 6-1 in 53 minutes to end the tie with a 3-0 victory and a win away against France on Wednesday from the semi-finals.
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