2021 Billie Jean King Cup nation preview: Belarus
THE WTA Tour’s most prestigious team event is less than a month away, and Draft Central is counting down the days until it kicks off by previewing each team individually. Starting with the lowest ranked nation through to the highest one, we take a look at each squad, their fixtures, and what they might be able to achieve at the event.
Captain: Tatiana Poutchek
vs. Belgium | November 1
vs. Australia | November 4
Belarus might be without world number two Aryna Sabalenka for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, but head into the tournament with plenty of confidence they can advance through to the semi-finals. Lead by two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka, the Belarusians will be buoyed by world number two’s and last year’s runners-up Australia being without world number one Ash Barty. Unfortunately for the Prague crowed at the O2 Arena, they will miss out on seeing the top two in the world face-off, but there will still be plenty to like about Group B, with Belarus also locking horns with a strong Belgian outfit.
Belarus qualified for the Finals courtesy of a tough 3-2 win over Netherlands on the back of Sabalenka and Sasnovich’s efforts way back in February last year. They will fancy themselves against a weakened Australian outfit, with Ajla Tomljanovic taking over the reins as top seed for the green and gold. Unfortunately a lot of question marks pop up for them after that, which should see the Belarusians take full advantage, but at the same time, Azarenka would be wary of Tomljanovic, who is coming off a win against Garbine Muguruza at Indian Wells. Belgium’s top seeded player Elise Mertens is no pushover either, and could well decide their tie.
With Sasnovich also in good form following a win over US Open winner Emma Raducanu, much of the work is expect to be left to the top two players with Sasnovich also the highest ranked doubles player in the side (59th). Marozava (87th) could still team up with Govortsova (178th), whilst the developing 21-year-old Hatouka is likely to be there for the experience as the fifth placed player ranked 230th in singles and 488th in doubles. Belarus is tipped to top Group B, though will battle with Belgium for that honour, an honour that likely would have gone to Australia had Barty played.
Prediction: 1st in Group B
Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA