Double Blow For Spain As Top Players Skip Billie Jean King Cup To Play WTA Finals - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Double Blow For Spain As Top Players Skip Billie Jean King Cup To Play WTA Finals

The close proximity of the two events has caused a headache for Spanish team who hasn’t won the team competition for more than 20 years.

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Garbine Muguruza (ESP) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

The Spanish squad for the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup Finals suffered a setback on Monday after their two highest ranked singles players announced that they will not be playing.

 

Garbine Muguruza and Paula Badosa have both pulled out of the 12-team event which will take place next week in Prague, Czech Republic. The duo are the only Spanish players currently ranked inside the top 30 on the WTA Tour. Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza is currently fifth in the standings and Indian Wells winner Badosa is 13th.

In a statement posted on her social media account, Muguruza said her recovery from an ankle injury is taking longer than expected and instead wants to focus on getting ready for the WTA Finals which will take place the week after in Mexico. The 28-year-old has represented her country in the competition, which was formerly known as the Fed Cup, six times in her career.

“Unfortunately, I will not be able to play in the BJK Cup this year. The last months have obviously been very demanding with the Olympics, Chicago and the new date of Indian Wells,” Muguruza said.
“I have not been home since July. The recovery in my ankle is taking a little longer than expected and I will spend the next weeks trying to get ready for Guadalajara (Mexico). I wish the team all the best and cheering for you to do very well.”

Badosa’s reason for skipping the event is also because she wants to focus on the prestigious WTA Finals which has a prize money pool of $5 million. She hasn’t played a match on the Tour since winning the biggest title of her career in Indian Wells where she defeated three top players in a row. In the final she ousted Victoria Azarenka in three sets.

“I am sorry to announce that I will not be with the Spanish team in Prague. It hurts me to make the decision because of the calendar,” said Badosa.
“ I have all the illusion to be in the future in the team and to live great moments together with everyone. This time I will have to cheer from a distance.”

The duo will be replaced in the team by Rebeka Masárová and Aliona Bolsova. Sara Sorribes Tormo, Nuria Párrizas Diaz and Carla Suárez Navarro have already been nominated to play.

Spain has been drawn in Group C for the Billie Jean King Cup finals along with America and Slovakia. The tournament will get underway on November 1st.

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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