Czech Republic vs. USA. A head-to-head battle between the two most successful tennis nations in history will decide who will advance to the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup. However, the American women in Seville do not like the fact that they are generally underestimated before the duel against the biggest favorites.
The Billie Jean King Cup suffers from the non-participation of big personalities who refused to represent at the end of the season, mainly because of the demanding calendar, which female tennis players are increasingly complaining about.
Strongly weakened, the ambitious American selection arrived in Seville, Spain.
Two of the biggest stars are missing in it, world number three Coco Gauff and world number five player Jessica Pegula, a finalist in the Tournament of Champions, who together form one of the most feared doubles pairs today. Madison Keys, the twelfth player in the WTA ranking, did not accept either.
“But look at our lineup. They’re all Grand Slam champions, Grand Slam finalists and a rising star who’s had an amazing year. It kind of annoys me when people say we’ve got a B team here. It’s not a B team, this is an A team.” declared captain Cathy Rinaldi even before the members of her lineup proved her right in Thursday’s opener against the Swiss.
The American women won all three duels, the finalist of the Australian Open 2022 Danielle Collins and the sensational champion from Melbourne 2020 Sofia Kenin succeeded in the singles.
Rinaldi will probably be betting on them on Friday afternoon as well.
The legend Billie Jean King, who gave a new name to the traditional team competition, drew attention to the expected match between the USA and the Czech Republic, even before the start. Now the attractive “blockbuster” is here.
“The Czechs are the favorites on paper, but you know what? We will go there and fight, just like against Switzerland. I have a group of fighters here and we feel great,” Rinaldiová declared before the match for promotion.
With 18 titles, the American women are the most successful in total in the competition, formerly known as the Fed Cup, before that as the Federation Cup. The Czechs are right behind, with a total of 11 winning trophies, six of them during the fabulous past decade.
The two nations will meet for the 15th time, the USA has a 10:4 lead in the head-to-head record, but lost the last two duels against the Czech Republic.
First, in the memorable final in 2018 in Prague’s O2 arena, where the Czech Republic celebrated its last triumph so far. A year ago, at the same stage as this year, i.e. in a direct battle for the semi-finals. It was decided after the singles. Markéta Vondroušová beat Danielle Collins and Kateřina Siniaková famously overpowered American tennis prodigy Coco Gauff.
“Unfortunately, we have to accept it as it is. We say it’s a tough group, but they’ll have it anyway. They’re certainly not thrilled to be in the group with us. So it can be turned around. They also want and something is expected of them. It’s not easy for them either,” Siniakova was quoted by ČTK.
Captain Petr Pála has a lot to choose from. Against the Swiss, he did not field two top ten players, Vondroušová and Barbora Krejčíková, in the singles, but they were replaced by Linda Nosková and Marie Bouzková.
World No. 6 Vondroušová will definitely start as the team’s number one against the USA. The second chosen one is still a mystery, Pála also has Siniaková at her disposal, who fulfilled the role of the greatest heroine twice in a row against the American women.
The match at Seville’s Estadio de la Cartuja will start at 4 p.m. at the earliest, and the newspaper Aktuálně.cz will follow it in an online report.