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Leylah Fernandez (Photo: WTA/ Twitter)
Leylah Fernandez (Photo: WTA/ Twitter)

Canada storm into its maiden Billie Jean King Cup final; set title clash with Italy

ANI | Updated: Nov 12, 2023 11:11 IST

Seville [Spain], November 12 (ANI): Leylah Fernandez scripted brilliant upset victories in singles and doubles, propelling Canada to a historic first participation in the Billie Jean King Cup championship tie.
Canada defeated 11-time champion Czech Republic 2-1 in the semifinals, thanks to Fernandez's two triumphs. On Sunday, Canada will face Italy for their first Billie Jean King Cup victory, having previously reached the event's semifinals in 1988.
The four-time winner Italy reached the Billie Jean King Cup Finals championship match for the first time in precisely a decade as Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini defeated Slovenia in singles at the famous team event in Seville, Spain.
To reach the milestone, Canada had to come back from a game down against the Czechs. Barbora Krejcikova began the semifinal match with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 18-year-old Marina Stakusic, who was facing a Top 10 player for the first time in her career.

Fernandez, on the other hand, levelled the tie by defeating reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Vondrousova had won her previous 11 Billie Jean King Cup singles matches in straight sets, including a victory against Fernandez in 2019, but the Canadian snapped the streak.
Fernandez's triumph was her fifth Top 10 win of her career, and her first Top 10 win since beating three Top 5 players en route to the 2021 US Open final. Between the 2021 US Open and Saturday's victory, Fernandez was 0-7 versus Top 10 players.
Fernandez returned to the court shortly after for the final doubles match, when she and reigning US Open doubles champion Gabriela Dabrowski faced Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, a seven-time Grand Slam winner.
There were no break points for either side in the doubles match until 5-5 when the Canadians broke through after Siniakova double-faulted on the decisive point. Dabrowski then held serve at love to take the first set.
The second set was even more competitive and went to a tiebreak when Fernandez blasted a backhand winner down the line to claim the first mini-break at 3-2. The Canadians never relinquished their lead, winning 7-5, 7-6(3) and securing a historic position in the final. (ANI)