Czech mate: Swiss suffer first defeat in two years
MINUS its two Billie Jean King Cup title-winning stars from last year in the singles, Switzerland was no match for Czech Republic as the Czechs swept the reigning champions. The Swiss sent out youngster Celine Naef and prominent doubles player Viktorija Golubic who both suffered defeats, before losing to one of the best doubles combinations in the world for the third match.
It leaves Switzerland’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage on a knives edge, with the world number ones needing to sweep USA and hoping USA can defeat Czech Republic. Switzerland takes on the American nation tonight.
Top Swiss ranked singles player Bencic announced her pregnancy a few days earlier and was instead an onlooker as her nation opted for Naef and Golubic to tackle fellow Czech youngster Linda Noskova and tricky talent Marie Bouzkova.
Though being without Bencic was expected, Jil Teichmann was left out of the Swiss singles lineup after going undefeated as a duo in last year’s event. Teichmann did enter the court for the doubles though, teaming up with Golubic.
Bouzkova was a call-up to the nation after Karolina Muchova suffered a wrist injury and had to withdraw from the team event.
“It feels really special and I am extra happy that I could get the win,” Bouzkova told billiejeankingcup.com. “I was really excited when I found out that I was playing but I tried to keep as calm as I could.
“A big occasion like this, it’s not easy and at the beginning I was little bit more nervous than usual, but it was one of the nicest wins of my career. The moment of victory was pure joy, looking at the team and seeing how happy everyone was with the win.”
Swiss captain Heinz Gunthart said minus Bencic made things difficult, but the nation would look to bounce back against the United States.
“Right now, we’re not exactly elated with the results, but I do feel we sold ourselves short,” Gunthardt told billiejeankingcup.com. “We had a lot of opportunities and you don’t have opportunities unless you’re actually playing well.
“But taking those opportunities was difficult against this team because they are a really, really good team. Unless you’re able to take one or two big ones early on, they do get stronger and the stronger they get, the more difficult it becomes.
“We didn’t do anything wrong, they did a lot of things well when it counted and they’re one of the toughest teams here.”