Czech Republic have reached a tenth consecutive Fed Cup Semi-Final after a straight sets Petra Kvitova win secured a 3-1 victory over Switzerland
The world number 21 and multiple time grand slam champion looked sizzling hot from the start of the match as she gained two breaks of serve in the opening set. Bencic could not deal with the big lefty forehand that she faced and was on the back foot for most of the match.
After 37 minutes Kvitova comfortably served out the first set 6-2 as she continued to punish Bencic for her errors. The second set was a tighter affair as the world number 73 managed to deal with Kvitova’s presence much better and used her big shots to move the tall Czech Republican around.
However Kvitova, who made an emotional return to the Fed Cup scene this weekend, managed to secure a crucial break in the seventh game to break down the Bencic momentum. Despite several opportunities, Bencic could not break her Czech Republican opponent down as she was left frustrated. Kvitova served out the match to complete a 6-2 6-4 victory and make sure that her nation would compete in an historic tenth consecutive Fed Cup Semi-Final.
Despite Switzerland’s best efforts they could not repeat their previous success and will now compete in a World Group Play-Off in April to try and keep their World Group status.
The Czech Republic will now play Germany in the Semi-Finals after they overcame last year’s finalists Belarus 3-2 in an exhilarating tie. With the tie locked in at 1-1 going into Sunday, Belarus were dealt a huge blow as Sasnovich had to miss the first match of the day due to illness. She was replaced by Vera Lapko, who made her Fed Cup singles debut.
Despite Lapko’s best efforts she fell to Tatjana Maria in three sets as the German Number One in this tie gave the visitors a 2-1 lead. However Belarus would soon level the tie after their number two, Aryna Sabalenka battled past Antonia Lottner 6-3 5-7 6-2 to force a deciding doubles rubber.
The deciding doubles was drama personified, however world number 21 Anna-Lena Groenefeld used her doubles experience to lead Germany to victory after her and Maria defeated Sabalenka and Marozava 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4. Belarus compete in the World Group Play-Off draw.
France and USA Set Super Showdown
In the other Semi-Final in April, France will play the USA in what is set to be a super clash. France beat Belgium 3-2 after Kristina Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse defeated Kirsten Flipkens and Elise Mertens in the deciding doubles 6-4 2-6 6-2.
While USA have attained an unassailable 3-0 lead over the Netherlands after Venus Williams defeated Richel Hogenkamp 7-5 6-1. This means USA have won their 150th Fed Cup tie and will compete in the Semi-Finals in April when they take on France.
The Netherlands and Belgium will be in the World Group Play-Offs in April, with the draw for those play-offs and the World Group II Play-Offs taking place on Tuesday.
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.
Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Goes for her 31st Consecutive Victory
Alexander Zverev reaches the fourth round at Roland Garros for the fifth consecutive year
David Goffin upsets Frances Tiafoe and Marin Cilic rolls on
Amanda Anisimova Finds Enjoyment In Tennis After Stellar 2022 Season Continues
Aryna Sabalenka dispatches Madison Brengle but Jelena Ostapenko and Danielle Collins fall
Former World No.1 Simona Halep Considered Retiring In 2021
Simona Halep Unsurprised By Mass Exit Of Top Seeds At Madrid Open
‘Time To Accept The Situation And Fight’ – Rafael Nadal Targets French Open Despite Foot Concern
Carlos Alcaraz showcases the changing landscape of men’s tennis
Daria Kasatkina Praises New Racket After Discovering Form Ahead Of Roland Garros
US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”
US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
ATP19 hours ago
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Focus1 day ago
EXCLUSIVE: The Reality Of Life As A Tennis Journalist Living In War-Torn Ukraine
ATP3 days ago
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
Focus3 days ago
Emma Raducanu ‘Happy’ With Progress And Talks About Learning After Roland Garros Exit
Hot Topics2 days ago
ATP Structure Has Failed Players Multiple Times, Says World No.1 Djokovic
Latest news2 days ago
‘Great Things Are Going To Happen’ – Maria Sakkari Finds Silver Lining In Shock French Open Loss
Focus3 days ago
Shocks galore as Pablo Carreño Busta, Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov tumble out
Latest news1 day ago
Simona Halep Suffers Rare Panic Attack During French Open Loss