Monday, April 8, 2024
HometennisCzechs down US to complete Billie Jean King Cup semi-final line-up, Italy...

Czechs down US to complete Billie Jean King Cup semi-final line-up, Italy beat Slovenia to reach final

SEVILLE – Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova believe they are the pair to beat, as they won the decisive doubles against the United States to seal Friday’s tie and claim the last place in the Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals.

The Czech duo beat Danielle Collins and Taylor Townsend 6-3, 7-5 to secure top spot in Group A and set up a showdown with Canada in Seville on Saturday for a spot in the final. The result of that clash was unavailable at press time.

“I was very happy when we sealed the winning point today. It was a good match and I was excited and happy that we finished it and with the way we played,” said Siniakova.

“It’s tough to be unbeatable because it’s impossible, but I’m proud of how we play and how long we are playing, because it’s not easy,” she added of her partnership with Krejcikova.

The pair have combined to win seven Grand Slam doubles titles and Olympic gold in Tokyo.

“Everyone wants to beat us, and they are coming and trying to find things,” said Siniakova.

Collins gave the Americans – the record 18-time winners – the ideal start with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Siniakova, but Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova thrashed Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-1 in the second singles.

“The US were there, just waiting for the winning moment. It got to the wire and it could have gone either way, but we have a world-class doubles team,” said Czech captain Petr Pala.

The Czechs are bidding for a 12th title and first since 2018, the last in a run of six in eight years. Their rivals Canada are appearing in the semi-finals for the first time since 1988.

On Saturday, Jasmine Paolini defeated Tamara Zidansek and Martina Trevisan beat Kaja Juvan, as Italy secured a 2-0 victory over Slovenia to reach the final and stay on course for their fifth crown.

“I’m really happy and really proud of my team, it was a really tough match today, a little bit of a roller coaster,” said Paolini.

“I’m so happy for my country, my team and everybody who is cheering for us and working for us to make the week better.”

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After Italy tasted success in their first semi-final appearance since 2014, Trevisan said: “I have to say that today was really tough.

“A lot of emotions and a lot of firsts… A result obtained starting from very far.”

Paolini said regardless of who Italy, who last won the competition 10 years ago, faced in the final, it would be a difficult clash.

The 2022 champions Switzerland and runners-up Australia were both eliminated in the group stage. AFP, REUTERS

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