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Czechs rout champions Swiss in BJK Cup finals opener | The Express Tribune

Czechs rout champions Swiss in BJK Cup finals opener | The Express Tribune

طوبیٰ Tooba 8 months ago 0 2

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SEVILLE:

The Czech Republic earned an impressive 3-0 victory over defending champions Switzerland in their Billie Jean King Cup finals opener on Tuesday.

Marie Bouzkova and Linda Noskova triumphed in singles matches to give the Czechs an unassailable lead before the doubles rubber in Group A, dubbed ‘the group of death’, including record 18-time winners the United States.

Noskova defeated Celine Naef 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-4 in a long battle of two 18-year-old debutants, before Bouzkova saw off the in-form Viktorija Golubic 6-4, 6-4.

Then Czech doubles pairing Barbora Krejckova and Katerina Siniakova beat Golubic and Jil Teichmann 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 to cement their perfect start.

Swiss player Naef fought her way back in as Noskova nearly gave up a 4-1 lead in the first set and then crumbled under the pressure in the second to force a deciding third.

However this time it was Naef who collapsed from 4-1 up, with world number 41 Noskova converting her second match point.

“I came back in the third, which is the most important one,” said an exhausted Noskova, after the two-hour, 31-minute match.

The 11-time champions clinched the tie when Bouzkova saw off Golubic, stepping up at key moments — she saved five of seven break points and converted four out of five herself.

“I’m super happy to get the second point and the win for our team,” said Bouzkova.

“(The travelling fans) are so loud, it gives us so much support … I enjoy the team spirit and I’m really happy with this win.”

Switzerland were without Belinda Bencic, world number 17, who announced last week she is pregnant and expecting her first child.

Earlier Slovenia beat seven-time winners Australia 2-1, taking both the singles rubbers, but they were pipped in the doubles.

Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek succeeded against last year’s runners-up to get Slovenia off to a winning start on their finals debut.

Juvan defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-1 before Zidansek beat Daria Saville 6-1, 6-4.

Kimberly Birrell and Storm Hunter, the latter only arriving a few hours before the match after travelling from the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, beat Veronika Erjavec and Ela Milic in a first-to-ten super tie-break, 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 10-5.

Juvan got the ball rolling with a comfortable straight-sets win over Tomljanovic, serving strongly against her tiring Australian opponent, who has endured an injury-hit season, playing just five matches prior.

The Slovenian has a strong record at the Billie Jean King Cup, recording her 10th victory in 11 matches across singles and doubles.

“I feel really good playing here and I was thinking today, I can’t seem to lose at this (competition),” said Juvan.

Zidansek produced seven aces against Saville as Slovenia moved top of Group B, which also features a solid Kazakhstan team, including 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Hunter, who will finish the season as the world number one in doubles, and Birrell’s doubles victory gave Australia a lifeline.

“It’s been a busy 24 hours,” Hunter told reporters. “It was obviously a quick turnaround, but for me, representing my country is the greatest honour and honestly the most amazing thing I can ever do with my tennis career.”



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