Canadian female tennis players dominated the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time. Their 2-0 victory over Italy in the final in Seville was decided by Leylah Fernandez, who defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-3 in the second singles.
Twenty-one-year-old Fernandez didn’t give Paolini a chance in the battle of the team’s singles. Although she lost the lead 2:0 in the first set, she didn’t make a mistake from 3:2 on. In the second set, the only hesitation came at the score of 5:2, when she lost her serve. Immediately afterwards, she ended the final with a successful break.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m very proud of the team, the girls are incredible,” Canadian captain Heidi El Tabakhmova was quoted as saying by Reuters. “This is a dream come true,” she added.
Canada, which eliminated the Czech team in the semi-finals, was previously led by 18-year-old Marina Stakusicová. The tennis player from the third hundred ranked managed 7:5 and 6:3 against the 43rd player in the world Martina Trevisanová.
Stakusic took a 4:1 lead in the first set, but Trevisan turned the tables with four games in a row. The end already belonged to the 258th player in the world, who then won the second set without any major problems.
“I’m really happy and honored to be able to play here. It was the best week of my life,” said Stakusic, who hasn’t played a single match in the main competition at WTA tournaments this year.
Canada turned its first final appearance into a title. Italy missed a chance to dominate the team competition for the fifth time. She claimed the last of her four triumphs in 2013, when it was still played in a different format and under the name Fed Cup.
For the victory, the Canadian women will receive 2.4 million dollars (55 million crowns), the highest premium in the history of the competition. The selection of captain Heidi El Tabakhmová followed the triumph of Canadian tennis players in last year’s Davis Cup.
Final tournament of the Billie Jean King Tennis Cup in Seville – final:
Canada – Italy 2:0
Stakusicová – Trevisanová 7:5, 6:3, Fernandezová – Paoliniová 6:2, 6:3.