Seville – The Czech tennis players did not advance to the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup in Seville. The selection of captain Petr Pála did not make it to the promising semi-final with the Canadian women and lost 1:2 in the matches. In the decisive doubles, Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková were not enough for Leylah Fernandezová, Gabriela Dabrowská and lost 5:7 and 6:7.
The Czechs were sent to the lead by Krejčíková, who defeated Marina Stakusicová 6:2, 6:1 in the opening singles match. Subsequently, Markéta Vondroušová was not enough against Fernandez in the singles match and lost 2:6, 6:2 and 3:6. The Canadian women managed better the decisive doubles in less than two hours.
Pál’s selection ended up in the semi-finals for the second time in a row, last year it was not enough for the later winners of the Swiss. The Czechs did not take the chance to win the 12th title in the team competition and the first in the new game format, which applies from 2021. They last played in the final five years ago.
“It’s a terrible shame and I’m very sorry for everyone. Firstly, we could have fought in the final, where it would have been very risky. Secondly, next year is the Olympics and we could have played the same final group. Now we will have to play the first round. The program will be very charged. I’m sorry that the girls shared a lot of points here and unfortunately it didn’t work out today,” Pála told journalists.
The Canadian women are in the final for the first time and will face Italy on Sunday, who defeated Slovenia 2-0. Captain Tathiana Garbinová’s selection reached the final after ten years and will attack for a fifth title.
The seven-time Grand Slam champions Krejčíková and Siniaková did not manage to break the serve of their opponents for a long time. The balanced first set was decided only by the ending. In the eleventh game at 5:5, the Canadians worked their way to the first break point, against which Siniaková made a double fault on serve. The Canadian women then added a set.
“You are always under pressure. It was a shame that the double fault happened at this moment. Otherwise, I did not serve badly,” said Siniaková.
The exciting duel continued in the second set. After losing serve in the seventh game, the Olympic champions from Tokyo made up for it again, but immediately equalized. At another 40:40 and a game system without advantages, Krejčíková flashed with a successful return.
It was decided in a shortened game. In it, the Czechs lost three balls in a row starting at 2:2, and the Canadians had already taken the lead. Krejčíková and Siniaková also paid for 31 unforced errors.
“The whole match we were tight and heckled each other. I believed that we would make it. Even though we lost the first set and lost in the second, we still fought and believed that we could turn it around. It was a match of elite players, we are all well they served and it was about one or two balls. But they weren’t on our side today, that’s why we lost,” said Krejčíková.
Wimbledon winner Vondroušová lost in the national team after eleven wins in singles and thirteen matches overall. The 35th ranked player in the world Fenandez avenged her defeat in the Fed Cup tie in 2019. The Canadian succeeded despite 41 unforced errors.
“She played incredible tennis. The match was really good from the second set on. I think she plays these competitions very well. Overall, it was a very good match,” Vondroušová told reporters.
Already in the first game, she had six break points on her opponent’s serve. But she didn’t use either one and Fernandez struck. Thanks to two breaks, the Canadian raced to a 4-0 lead and secured the finish. Vondroušová lost a set in the national team in singles after six years.
Vondroušová already captured the beginning of the second set. In the first game, this time she used a break point, she repeated the same in the third game and took a 4:0 lead. The Czech tennis player also did not let go of the lead and forced a decisive third set.
Vondroušová entered it with a break, but then lost four games in a row. After the match, she was also sorry for the situation at 1:0 and 15:0, when during her service, which Fernandezová returned outside the court, the linesmen declared an out by mistake. Umpriová, the referee, let the exchange be repeated instead of counting the Czech tennis player’s fifth.
“I wouldn’t say it was decided by one ball, more like the game, because if she was 2-0, which she could have been, I think she would have been better. The momentum was on her side, she already started to outplay her and got errors from her from the backhand. Then it got messy,” said Pála as well.
At 3:5, she could have dramatized the duel, Vondroušová led 40:0 when her opponent served. But she didn’t use a single break point and Fernandez won the duel with five balls in a row. “From the 40:0 score, I almost didn’t touch the ball. It was already difficult,” added Vondroušová.
Krejčíková claimed only her second singles victory in the competition. She succeeded for the first time in the April qualification with the Ukrainian Katarina Zavacka. The former world number two took the 258th player in the world from Stakusic’s serve right from the start, she did not offer her a single break point in the first set. In the seventh game, she won another break and extended the set.
Also, world number ten Krejčíková started the second set with a break. Although Stakusicova immediately leveled, she was unable to hold her serve even once until the end of the match. The tennis player from Ivančice broke her opponent nine times younger three more times and converted the second match point after one hour and 23 minutes.
Billie Jean King Cup Final Tournament – Semifinals:
Czech Republic – Canada 1:1
Krejčíková – Stakusicová 6:2, 6:1, Vondroušová – Fernandez 2:6, 6:2, 3:6, Krejčíková, Siniaková – Dabrowska, Fernandez 5:7, 6:7 (3:7).
Italy – Slovenia 2:0
Trevisanová – Juvanová 7:6 (8:6), 6:3, Paoliniová – Zidanšeková 6:2, 4:6, 6:3.
Sport Canada CR tennis King’s semi-finals OPENER