Friday, March 24, 2023

America beat Spain to set up BJK Cup semi-final against Russia

Prague (NWN) – The United States won both singles matches against Spain to reach the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup on Wednesday.

The Americans suffered a win-win situation after a 2-1 loss to Slovakia in Group C on Tuesday, and Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins both won straight-sets to render the final doubles meaningless.

The most successful team in the competition, formerly known as the Fed Cup, America will take on Russia in the semi-finals. Russia eliminated defending champions France earlier in the day.

Stephens defeated Nuria Parijas-Diaz 6–4, 6–4, earning her seventh break of the match in the final game and converting her first match point with a backhand winner.

“I came out really confident, I knew I was ready,” said 2107 US Open champion Stephens.

Collins beat Sara Soribes Tormo 6–1, 6–0 to secure the win and finish Spain in just under an hour to get the second point.

“I think in this format, every game, every set counts,” Collins said. “For me, I was just on a roll. I think it’s hard to put into words when you have a performance like this.”

After beating Canada 3-0 the previous day, Russia needed only one win in a best-of-three match against France to advance to Group A.

It can count on its top player, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, to deliver it.

12th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova defeated Elise Kornet 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals of Russia.

“I am very happy and proud of myself,” said Pavlyuchenkova. “It was an incredible match. It was great tennis but more important the amazing fighting spirit in the two of us.”

After losing the first set, the Russian broke the cornet in the opening game of the next two sets, hitting 34 winners along the way to improve his record to 7–1 against his 59th-placed opponent.

After upsetting the 2019 champions 2-1 to outside Canada in their opener on Monday, France had to beat Russia 3-0 to advance.

Last year’s edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 12 teams in the final are divided into four groups of three teams in a new format of the competition. Only the group winners advance to Friday’s semi-finals.

Earlier, Clara Burrell kept France alive by winning the opening singles.

Burrell, ranked 77, overtook Ekaterina Alexandrova, ranked 32, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, for her first win over a top-50 player in her singles debut in the competition.

The Russian struck 34 winners, but also made 44 unforced errors before double-faulting on Burrell’s fourth match point.

“It is very special. It was the first match for my country and I was very happy to win today,” said Burrell, 20.

Russia also won 2–1 on aggregate in doubles.


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