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Spain beats Kazakhstan, USA wins Billie Jean King Cup final

A thrilling Day 2 in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals continued late into the night, with Spain completing a clean 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan and the US beating Poland 2-1 in the decisive doubles match.

All four individual rubbers in the evening session went into three sets. In Group C, Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Paula Badosa came from a break in the deciding set to win two high-profile clashes over Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) and Elena Rybakina 6 -2, 3- 6, 6-4 respectively.

Parrizas Diaz ran to a quick 5-1 lead over an unstable Putintseva. But once Kazakh No. 51, who came off a set to defeat Katie Boulter on day one, found her rhythm, she looked to be on her way to a second straight comeback. Putintseva won 11 of the next 14 games – too late to save the first set, but enough to open 2-0 in the third – thanks to creative point-building and pinpoint accuracy, even in defensive positions.

But Parrizas Diaz kept his cool throughout a series of fierce two-games, relentlessly targeting corners with his hard and weak punches. Of the 39 total world number 72 winners, 21 came in the third set. Even when she failed to convert two match points by serving at 5-4, Parrizas Diaz remained committed to her strategy.

In the ensuing tiebreaker, Putintseva saved two more match points with a couple of bullets, but Parrizas Diaz converted his sixth opportunity after 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a Putintseva forehand coming wide.

Badosa brought a 3-1 record against Rybakina in the second round of the tie, and for the third time in their feud came out with a three-set win in which she lost the middle set. A serve masterclass in which the world number 13 hit 67% of her first serves and earned 100% of those points allowed her to seal a dominant first set.

On the other hand, Rybakina’s 30% first serve percentage in the opening game could only improve – and once that happened, the Wimbledon champion had a secure footing in the match. The second set had just one break point between the pair, converted by Rybakina to a decisive 5-3 lead when Badosa’s backhand broke.

But with a break in the third set, it was Rybakina’s forehand that started to go wrong. She made 18 unforced errors in the decision compared to eight in the second set, while Badosa rediscovered her dynamic first-set form to seal a victory in her Billie Jean King Cup debut in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Spain completed their cleanup in the third doubles round when Badosa teamed up with Aliona Bolsova to defeat Putintseva and Anna Danilina 6-4, 6-2. Group C will end on day 3 with Spain facing Great Britain. All three teams can still advance to the semifinals.

In the first tie to be decided by the third rubber duo, Coco Gauff and Caty McNally met for the first time since Miami to seal victory for the US, defeating Magda Linette and Alicja Rosolska 6-1, 6-2 in just 47 minutes. .

Previously, Danielle Collins had held a valiant Magdalena Frech 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) in 2 hours and 9 minutes. In a classic battle of offense against defense, Collins’ frustration often boiled over – but the Australian Open finalist ended the match with an almost flawless performance in the decisive tiebreaker.

Linette tied the tie by moving away from Madison Keys 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the second round of singles. Having lost to Keys in straight sets three weeks ago in Guadalajara, Linette reversed that result to claim his third Top 20 win of 2022.

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