Tennis: Fernandez leads Canada into Billie Jean King Cup final after win over Czechs

AP , Sunday 12 Nov 2023

Leylah Fernandez led Canada into the Billie Jean King Cup final after beating Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova and then helping to secure a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in a decisive doubles match on Saturday.

Leylah Fernandez
Canada s Gabriela Dabrowski, left, and Leylah Fernandez celebrate a point against Czech Republic s Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova during the semifinal doubles tennis match at the Billie Jean King Cup finals at La Cartuja stadium in Seville, southern Spain, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. AP


Fernandez beat Vondrousova 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to pull Canada level after Barbora Krejcikova had beaten Marina Stakusic 6-2, 6-1 to give the Czechs the early advantage.

The 20th-ranked Fernandez got right back on the indoor hardcourt in Seville to help Gabriela Dabrowski beat Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 7-5, 7-6 (3).

In Sunday's final, Canada will face Italy which saw off Slovenia 2-0 after winning both singles matches.

Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, has also paired with Siniakova to win seven major doubles titles including this year’s Australian Open.

The Czech Republic, an 11-time champion, had also won all seven previous meetings with Canada.

Italy reached its first final of the competition in a decade.

Martina Trevisan beat Kaja Juvan 7-6, 6-3 in the opening singles match of the semifinal after breaking her opponent three times. Jasmine Paolini gave the Italians an insurmountable lead after seeing off Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

“What they have done, it’s something incredible," Italian captain Tathiana Garbin said. "We want always to push ourselves to the limit, and we try to dream again tomorrow.”

Juvan double-faulted on set point in the tiebreaker and let Trevisan take the lead.

Trevisan was pushed to tears at one moment from the tension.

“I had to be happy because I won the set, but I was crying," she said. "Too many emotions to manage. But the heart and head were there, so I’m very happy.”

Zidansek's serve also betrayed her in the second match when the Slovenian doubled-faulted to cede her service game and fall behind 5-3.

Slovenia was playing its first semifinal at the competition.

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