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Great Britain sweeps past Spain to break 41-year semi-final drought at BJK Cup
Needing a clean sweep against Spain, Great Britain got stunning performances from four players to reach the semi-finals at BJK Cup for the first time in 41 years.
Great Britain needed to be perfect against Spain on Thursday in Glasgow to claim a long awaited BJK Cup milestone. They did precisely that, blanking Spain 3-0 to claim a spot alongside Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals.
Captain Keothavong – “It was unreal!”
“It was just wonderful to see everything unfold today,” British captain Anne Keothavong told the media. “I still can’t believe it. To beat Spain without dropping a set in Billie Jean King Cup, I think that’s got to be the biggest win certainly in my time as captain.
“Knowing that we had to win, knowing that we had to win 3-Love, and then the girls just smashing it by not dropping a set, it was just unreal.”
Heather Watson got the ball rolling with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Nuria Parrizas Diaz, setting the tone for Harriet Dart’s colossal takedown of Paula Badosa in the second rubber. Dart needed 92 minutes to defeat the former world No 2, 6-3, 6-4 – an epic upset by the 26-year-old who is ranked 85 spots lower than Badosa.
But the job was not done yet.
It took a step-up performance from Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls to seal the deal. The pair took out Rebeka Masarova and Aliona Bolsova 7-6(5), 6-2 to end one of the greatest days in British Billie Jean King Cup history.
Great Britain has reached the final at the women’s team competition on four occasions – in 1967 ( defeated by USA), 1971 ( defeated by Australia), 1972 ( defeated by South Africa) and 1981 ( defeated by USA) – but never won the title.
Australia wins Group B without a loss
Storm Sanders continues to be a factor for the Aussies, who will next face Great Britain in the semi-finals after topping Belgium 3-0. Sanders defeated Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-2, before Ajla Tomljanovic took to the court and defeated Elise Mertens, who retired down 3-0 in the third set due to injury.
In doubles it was Sanders and Sam Stosur notching a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens.
Canada powers past Italy to set winner take all clash with Switzerland in Group A
A stacked Canadian squad – featuring Leylah Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu – blanked Italy in its first matches of the weekend, and they will play Switzerland for a spot in the semi-finals on Friday.
Andreescu defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 7-6(3), 6-3, while Fernandez waltzed past Martina Trevisan 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles it was Fernandez and doubles stalwart Gabriela Dabrowski defeating Lucia Bronzetii and Jasmine Paolini, 6-1 6-1.
Czechs eliminate Poland and set winner take all clash with USA for Group D
It came down to doubles between the Czech Republic and Poland, with Katerina Siniakova and Marketa Vondrousova defeating Katarzyna Kawa and Magda Linette, 6-2, 6-3 to set up a Friday battle with Team USA for Group D bragging rights.
Karolina Muchova defeated Magdalena Frech in Thursday’s first singles rubber, 6-2, 6-2, while Magda Linette topped Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-1 to send the tie to deciding doubles.
The winners of Group A and Group D will play the second semi-final at BJK Cup on Saturday.
All of Thursday’s results, from BJKCUP.com
Group A – Canada defeated Italy 3-0
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 7-6(3) 6-3
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) d. Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-0 6-0
Gabriela Dabrowski/Leylah Fernandez (CAN) d. Lucia Bronzetti/Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-1 6-1
Group B – Australia defeated Belgium 3-0
Storm Sanders (AUS) d. Alison van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-2 6-2
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d. Elise Mertens (BEL) 4-6 6-4 3-0 ret.
Storm Sanders/Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Kirsten Flipkens/Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-4 6-3
Group C – Great Britain defeated Spain 3-0
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Nuria Parrizas-Diaz (ESP) 6-0 6-2
Harriet Dart (GBR) d. Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-3 6-4
Alicia Barnett/Olivia Nicholls (GBR) d. Aliona Bolsova/Rebeka Masarova (ESP) 7-6(5) 6-2
Group D – Czech Republic defeated Poland 2-1
Karolina Muchova (CZE) d. Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-2 6-2
Magda Linette (POL) d. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-4 6-1
Katerina Siniakova/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Katarzyna Kawa/Magda Linette (POL) 6-2 6-3
Australia and Great Britain advance to the semi-finals as winners of Groups B and C, respectively.