Poland, Italy, Spain and Kazakhstan cruise into BJK finals
April 17, 2022 07:12 AM
Poland, Italy, Spain and Kazakhstan booked their places in the Billie Jean King Cup finals on Saturday as they took unassailable 3-0 leads in their ties.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, crushed Romania's 324th-ranked Andreea Prisacariu 6-0 6-0 in 45 minutes to seal victory for hosts Poland in Radom.
In Sardinia, Italian Camila Giorgi also won 12 successive games as she dispatched Harmony Tan of France 6-2, 6-0 to give Italy a 3-0 advantage.
Spain were the only away team to win as Sara Sorribes Tormo sealed their place in the finals by beating Arantxa Rus 6-0, 6-4 in s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands.
Elena Rybakina had to work harder to clinch Kazakhstan's surprising victory over Germany, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in Nur-Sultan
"Really proud of us," Swiatek told the competition web site. "It's been a long journey. It took us a few years, step by step to progress and qualify finally.
"It just shows how strong a team we are. Hopefully in the Finals we are going to show even more progress, and we're going to succeed."
Tan, ranked 107th in the world, played ahead of 34th ranked Alize Cornet and jumped into a 2-0 lead before the hard-hitting Giorgi took complete control.
In Prague, the Czechs took a 2-1 lead over Great Britain as Marketa Vondrousova beat U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 6-1, 6-1.
"The score looks easy but it was a tough match and she was a bit injured," said Vondrousova
Raducanu had dragged Britain back into the match in her first professional match on clay on Friday with a hard-fought victory over Tereza Martincova, but she paid a price on Saturday.
"I have a blister on my foot, it kind of showed up after yesterday's match," she told the BBC.
"It completely stopped me from moving, it’s tough to not even be able to chase the ball."
"In some sort of twisted way it gives me a sense of confidence and relief that I don't think it's my tennis that's the issue."
The outdoor match started with the temperature at just 6 degrees centigrade.
"I never played in such cold weather," said Vondrousova.
Seven qualifiers are being finished on Saturday.
After Friday's matches, USA lead Ukraine 2-0 and Canada lead Latvia 2-0.
The winners will join Switzerland, Australia, Belgium and Slovakia in the finals later this year.
Defending champions Russia as well as Belarus have been expelled from the competition due to the invasion of Ukraine.