Trio Of Grand Slam Champions Set To Play Fed Cup Semis, But Not The Williams Sisters - UBITENNIS
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Trio Of Grand Slam Champions Set To Play Fed Cup Semis, But Not The Williams Sisters

It is set to be a star-studded weekend regardless of the two notable absentees

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Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

The nominations for the upcoming Fed Cup semi-finals took place on Wednesday with a series of top 20 players confirming their intentions to play.

 

Later this month Germany will face the Czech Republic on home territory at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart. Venue of the annual Stuttgart Open, which is a WTA Premier event. Germany is bidding to reach the final for the first time since 2013 and only the second time in the past 20 years. Heading their team is two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber. She will be joined by Julia Goerges, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Tatjana Maria.

“I am convinced that we have the quality to reach the final,” German captain Jens Gerlach said in reference to Goerges and Kerber. “They are in such good form that they can beat the best players in the world.”

Standing in Germany’s way is a strong Czech team. The country has won the Fed Cup title 10 times, including three out of the past four years. Top 10 players Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are set to feature in the tie. Along with world No.26 Barbora Strycova.

“The team is strong but we are facing a strong opponent,” Czech captain Petr Pala said in a Facebook post. “The tie will definitely be great for the audience and tough for both teams.”

In the other semi-final, France will host defending champions America. The American contingent will be without both of the Williams sisters, who have both confirmed their absence. Earlier this year in the competition the two paired up in a doubles match against the Netherlands, losing in straight sets. It was Serena’s first competitive match (beside exhibition events) since  giving birth.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens will be hoping to guide her country to another final. Also nominated for the upcoming tie is Madison Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe. Stephens and Vandeweghe both played in last year’s final.

France will be without two key players. Caroline Garcia is skipping the event to focus on her singles career. Meanwhile, Alize Cornet is currently ineligible during to an ongoing anti-doping hearing. Cornet is being investigated for missing three doping tests within a 12-month period. As a consequence Kristina Mladenovic, Pauline Parmentier and Amandine Hesse will make up the team.

The Fed Cup semi-finals will take place between April 21-22.

Fed Cup

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.

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British Billie Jean King Cup Team (@the_LTA - Twitter)

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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Fed Cup

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.

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Daria Kasatkina (@usopen - Twitter)

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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Fed Cup

Canada Shocks France on day 1 of the Billie Jean King Cup

Canada are off to a winning start at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Francoise Abanda (@BJKCup - Twitter)

Despite missing their two best players and being major underdogs Canada caused a major upset beating the defending champions from France.

 

Canada is officially top of the group after beating France 2-1 over three rubbers which included singles and doubles. Francoise Abanda took on Fiona Ferro while Rebecca Marino faced the veteran Alize Cornet.

In doubles, Marino and Gabriela Dabrowski teamed up to play against the French duo of Clara Burel and Cornet in a decisive tie deciding doubles match rubber.

Abanda gets past Ferro

Francoise Abanda was a very interesting story coming into this year’s edition of the Billie Jean King Cup as she hadn’t played in over a year and after contracting Covid made her return in Prague at the O2 Arena.

Currently ranked at 353 in the world she did a good job hanging with Ferro who is currently ranked at 105 and the first set stayed on serve until 2-2 when it was the Canadian who got the first break of serve.

She wasn’t able to consolidate the break and it went back on serve and at 5-4, the world number 105 had a set point and was able to serve out the first to give first blood to France.

Winning the first set seemed to motivate Ferro and she managed to break in the first game of the second set and jump out to a 2-0 lead but the Canadian bounced back and won the next two games.

She broke once again to take a 3-2 lead and that break was enough for her to force a third and deciding set.

The third set stayed on serve with both players having great chances to break but couldn’t convert and at 1-1 it was the Canadian who got the early break and that one break sufficed to serve out the match and the win.

Cornet evens the tie

The Vancouver native faced the world number 59 from Nice and it was the Canadian who jumped out a 2-0 lead in the first set but the lead couldn’t hold and Cornet won two straight games.

She then got the crucial break for a 3-2 lead and that break was just enough for her to serve out the first set.

The world number 59 continued to roll and broke in the third game of the second set but at 3-2 the world number 148 broke right back to level the set at 3-3 and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Marino jumped out to a 2-0 lead and turned that into a 4-1 lead when the Nice native mounted a comeback and won three straight points to level the breaker at four.

At 6-5, Cornet had a match point and she took it to level the tie at one rubber apiece and the tie was decided by a decisive doubles rubber.

Deciding Doubles Rubber

Dabrowski who is a top 10 player in doubles showed why that is in the first set when she and Marino managed to get the first break of the match for a 2-1 lead.

That one break of serve again proved to be crucial as she served out the first set and Canada was one set away from a major win.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when the duo of Burel and Cornet got the first break of serve but at 5-3 when serving for the set was broken and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreak was back and forth and at 6-5 France had a set point to send it to a match tiebreak but Canada managed to save it and at 7-6 broke serve one final to seal the win and the tie.

Next opponent

Canada will once again play in the morning session on day two as they will face Russia and a win against the Russians will send them through past the group stage and into the knockout round.

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