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Switzerland and Czechs return to semifinals in Billie Jean King Cup

Switzerland, runners-up in last year’s Billie Jean King Cup, are back in the semifinals after Olympic medalists Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic’s victories propelled them 2-0 against Canada in Friday’s group stage matches. fair.

Switzerland will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals. On Friday night, the Czechs, 11-time champions of the Billie Jean King Cup, knocked out the 18-time champions United States 2-0.

Australia will face home team Great Britain in the other semi-final in Glasgow, Scotland.

Bencic secured Friday’s tie for Switzerland by defeating Leylah Fernandez 6-0, 7-5 in the second singles match. Bencic converted six of his 10 break points to win in 89 minutes and tied his head-to-head against Fernandez at 2-2.

“I feel like I’m moving really well and I’m just trying to fight for every point,” Bencic said on the court after his win. “I think you get into the rhythm a little bit and of course it’s great to be pressured by my team and just have your heart on your sleeve.”

Bencic’s brilliant backhands helped give her the first seven games of the match. Fernandez’s timing slipped as the game progressed, catching the ball early to keep the second set close, but Bencic served the game in the second half asking to seal the tie for the Swiss.

In the first match of the day, Golubic came back from a set to beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Andreescu reduced Golubic’s lead in the third set from 4-0 to 5-4, but Golubic found strong serve in the final game to secure victory in 2 hours and 8 minutes.

“It gave me a lot today, and I think my team was very supportive,” Golubic said on court afterwards. “They lifted me up a lot because I didn’t start so well, and I think without them, it would be an easy defeat in straight sets. But I also managed to take the energy out of the crowd, and it was a great match.”

Switzerland is still chasing its first Billie Jean King Cup title. In addition to last year’s runner-up, they also finished second in 1998.

The Czech Republic won the last spot in the semifinals by eliminating the United States with two wins in straight sets. Marketa Vondrousova started the day for the Czechs with a sending off of Danielle Collins 6-3 and 6-3 in 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Vondrousova was only playing her third event on her return from a six-month injury stoppage, but now she has won her last six singles matches. Former world number 14 Vondrousova won an ITF Challenger title in Shrewsbury, Great Britain, last week, pushing her back into the Top 100.

Vondrousova, the 2019 Roland Garros finalist, earned 81% of her first service points to outrun this year’s Australian Open finalist Collins. Collins won a grueling 13-minute game to open up a 3–1 early lead, but Vondrousova bounced back immediately, winning the next eight straight games en route to victory.

Katerina Siniakova then secured the tie with a 7-6(1), 6-1 victory over Coco Gauff. Siniakova, the WTA Doubles World No.1, claimed her eighth career Top 10 singles victory by defeating World No.7 Gauff in an hour and a half.

Two service breaks each in the first set lined up the tiebreak, which Siniakova dominated. A forehand winner in the corner gave Siniakova a 4-1 break lead, and she drew mistakes from Gauff from there to gain a set lead.

Siniakova went through the second set, where she converted her two breakpoints. Gauff, who was playing the first Billie Jean King Cup singles match of his career, missed 18 unforced errors in that set.

The Czech Republic has won six of the last 10 Billie Jean King Cup titles, with their last championship in 2018. Siniakova also won that tie, which also happened in the United States, by beating Sofia Kenin in the last singles match.

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