Leylah Fernandez is celebrating a meaningful victory…
The 21-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player has sealed Canada‘s place in the Billie Jean King Cup semifinals for the first time since 1988, with Italy also reaching the last four in Seville, Spain.
Fernandez prevailed in a three-hour match against Sara Sorribes Tormo, which she described as a “bullfight,” to give Canada victory over Spain on Wednesday.
But, a day later, the world number 20 had a comfortable winner over Linette and said she was “proud and ecstatic” that her nation had ended a 35-year wait for a semifinal spot.
Teammates Gabriela Dabrowski and Eugenie Bouchard completed a 3-0 win over Poland – who are without world number one Iga Swiatek – with a 6-2 6-3 win against Weronika Falkowska and Katarzyna Kawa.
Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini confirmed Italy’s progress from Group D with singles wins, before Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto edged a match tie-break against Friedsam and Laura Sigemund in the doubles – winning 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 11-9.
Record 18-time winners the USA, who would face Group C winners Canada should they top Group A, will aim for a last-four place against the Czech Republic on Friday after overcoming winless Switzerland.
Sofia Kenin, playing her first Billie Jean King Cup since 2020, clinched victory by beating Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-5 after Danielle Collins won 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 against Celine Naef.
Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend ensured a clean sweep for the USA, winning 6-1 7-6 (7-3) against Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert, as Switzerland’s title defense ended with back-to-back 3-0 losses.
In Group B, Australia beat Kazakhstan 2-1 after Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez won a third set match tie-break in their decisive doubles match against Anna Danilina and Yulia Putintseva, prevailing 6-1 4-6 (10-5).
Hunter had put Australia ahead by winning her singles match against Danilina 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 but Putintseva beat Kimberly Birrell 6-0 7-5 to level the tie.
Kazakhstan play Slovenia in their final group match, with Slovenia guaranteed to progress with victory following their opening win over Australia.
Twelve nations are taking part in the finals of the competition, which was formerly known as the Fed Cup, with teams split into four groups in the round-robin stage.
The group winners will advance to Saturday’s semifinals before the champions are crowned after Sunday’s final in Seville.
The winners will receive prize money of $2.4 million which is part of an overall payment pot of $9.6 million – a record figure for the event which matches the cash awarded in the men’s equivalent Davis Cup.