Russia defeats Switzerland to claim fifth Billie Jean King Cup title
Liudmila Samsonova produced a tie-clinching victory over Belinda Bencic to send Russia to a magic moment at the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague.
Russia claimed its fifth Billie Jean King Cup title – and first since 2008 – by defeating Switzerland 2-0 in Saturday’s final in Prague. Daria Kasatkina got the ball rolling for the Russians with an inspired performance against Jil Teichmann, 6-2, 6-4, while 22-year-old Liudmila Samsonova, playing her second Billie Jean King Cup singles match, delivered the knockout blow by taking out Belinda Bencic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Samsonova: it was about more than tennis
22-year-old Samsonova has made a name for herself on the WTA Tour in 2021, as the world No 40 claimed her maiden title in Berlin from qualifying with a run that featured wins over five top-50 players. It must have helped her confidence that she defeated Bencic in the final at Berlin, and again in Luxembourg this September.
But Saturday’s victory was about more than tennis, an elated Samsonova said on the court after the match.
“I have too many emotions now – it’s unbelievable, really, I’m unbelievably happy,” she said. “Today was an incredible fight. I think what I did was more than tennis.”
Andreev on Samsonova: she can be a top player
Russian Billie Jean King Cup Captain Igor Andreev had high praise for Samsonova, who finishes the finals with a 5-0 record which included three doubles victories, including a pivotal tie-clinching triumph over Team USA in the semis.
Andreev says he was beyond impressed with the way Samsonova performed on the big stage.
“Liudmila was playing amazing this week,” he said. “Tonight she showed again that she can beat very good players, she has everything ahead of her, a lot of things to improve, she can be a top player, not only playing well but dealing with all the pressure, big stage and she performed fantastic tonight so big credit to her.”
They are heroes and a real team of friends
Andreev gave praise to his team which also got key contributions from Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova throughout the week. He says it is their closeness and team spirit that allowed for their success.
“I think it’s an historic win for us,” Andreev said. “For a long time we’ve been without any trophies in tennis. I’m very proud and very happy for the girls, the way they played and the way they did everything – they are amazing. They are heroes and they did it because they are a team, a real team and real friends.”