Billie Jean King Cup wrap: Day 4 – Australia and Switzerland set up semi clash

AUSTRALIA has guaranteed itself a semi-final berth at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals after defeating Belarus to reach the final four at the 2021 event. Having upset Belgium two days ago, Australia secured its place in the final four with another 2-1 win, securing both singles ties before going down in the doubles, the same as their Belgium triumph.

The hero against Belgium, Storm Sanders was relieved of her number one singles duties, going from playing world number 18 Elise Mertens last match, to world number 192 Yulia Hatouka in this clash. She certainly found the going more comfortable, closing it out in straight sets, 6-3 6-3. The match lasted 63 minutes, with Hatouka serving seven aces to four, and at a higher efficiency of 66 to 61 per cent, but Sanders was far more economical. She won 77 per cent of her first serve points and 76 per cent of her second serve points, never facing a break point, whilst capitalising on three of five break point opportunities herself. She hit three more winners (17-14), but crucially only hit nine unforced errors to Hatouka’s 23, to enjoy the win.

Returning from injury, Ajla Tomljanovic took her place as the top-ranked Aussie in the clash, taking on the ever-dangerous Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Holding her nerve after dropping the first set, Tomljanovic steadied to bring home the win, and the semi-finals place with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory. Tomljanovic won 66 per cent of her first serve points off a 56 per cent clip, compared to Sasnovich’s 56 off 68 per cent. She also only hit 11 winners to the hard-hitting Sansovich’s 27, but was more controlled overall, only producing 17 unforced errors to 48, including only two in the second set. She broke seven times to five to win the match and send the green and gold into the semi-finals.

The doubles was a dead rubber, and as has been the case most of the tournament, the losing side managed to get a point back. The Belarusian pairing of Lidziya Marozava and Sasnovich won 6-4 6-4 over Olivia Gadecki and Ellen Perez. The Belarusian team won 70 per cent of their first serve off an elite 85 per cent efficiency, but surprisingly despite having Sasnovich on court, hit less winners (19-25), but also less unforced errors (17-18). It was more the forced errors that were the difference, with Belarus forcing Australia to make 23 errors compared to their own eight. They also broke four times to two.


Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated Yulia Hatouka (BLR) 6-3 6-3
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 4-6 6-2 6-3
L. Marosava/A. Sasnovich (BLR) defeated O. Gadecki/E. Perez (AUS) 6-4 6-4


A pivotal doubles change has sent Switzerland into the semi-finals, causing a boilover against Czech Republic, with the home team opting to not use its world number one doubles combination. The move ultimately proved costly, with Belinda Bencic replacing Stefanie Voegele in the doubles to team up with Jil Teichmann, whilst the home team subbed in Lucie Hradecka over Katerina Siniakova. The move proved the difference in the end, with the doubles ultimately deciding the overall contest after the sides were 1-1 following the singles.

The home fans were happy after the opening match, with Marketa Vondrousova getting the Czech Republic off to the perfect start with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Viktorija Golubic. Vondrousova won in an hour and 25 minutes, hitting 21 winners to 18, and having seven less unforced errors (15-22). She also broke five times to two, and was stronger off her serve, capitalising on 65 and 50 per cent of her first and second serve points, compared to Golubic’s 50 and 33 per cent.

The second match was a blockbuster between two Top 10 players, but it was an outstanding effort from Switzerland’s Bencic to win the crucial tie against Krejcikova and level the match, 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 58 minutes. Bencic weathered nine aces from the Roland Garros champion, producing four of her own, but was stronger off her second serve, with a 57 per cent success rate compared to Krejcikova’s 46 per cent. Bencic also hit a whopping 18 less unforced errors (only 10 for the match), and hit just six less winners (23-29).

With the scores levelled, Bencic was thrown into the doubles to continue her red-hot singles form, but puzzlingly, world number two Krejcikova was replaced by Hradecka (who to be fair is still ranked 29th in the world in doubles). The move proved trumps for Switzerland, as the visitors won 6-3 6-3 in 66 minutes to secure a semi-final spot. The Swiss pair served the only three aces of the match, with Bencic and Teichmann winning 88 and 57 per cent of their first and second serve points, compared to Hradecka and Siniakova’s 71 and 19 per cent, struggling off that second serve. The winners also hit more winners (19-17) and hit just four unforced errors for the entire match in a remarkable doubles performance.


Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-4 6-2
Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 7-6 6-4
B. Bencic/J. Teichmann (SUI) defeated L. Hradecka/K. Siniakova (CZE) 6-3 6-3


Picture credit: Paul Zimmer


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