US beats defending champion Switzerland in Billie Jean King Cup Finals
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — The United States began its campaign in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals with a win over defending champion Switzerland on Thursday, setting up a decisive tie against the Czech Republic for a spot in the semifinals.
Danielle Collins and Sofia Kenin won their singles matches to give the Americans the victory that left them tied with the Czech Republic atop Group A. The U.S. will face the Czechs on Friday.
Only the winners in each of the four groups make it to the semifinals. The Czech Republic beat Switzerland on Tuesday.
The U.S. is without its two top-ranked players — No. 3 Coco Gauff and No. 5 Jessica Pegula. They opted to play in the WTA finals, which was played just before the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
Collins defeated teenager Celine Naef 7-6 (4), 6-1 for her sixth win in seven Billie Jean King Cup matches. Kenin then beat Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-5 to seal the victory for the Americans. Kenin is playing her first Billie Jean King Cup tie since 2020.
“I was very feisty and eager to get back up the rankings and I definitely feel like I’m getting more attention now," Kenin said. "I definitely feel I deserve it.”
The U.S. remains unbeaten against Switzerland in the Billie Jean King Cup, winning all 10 ties between the nations.
The U.S. is the most successful nation in Billie Jean King Cup history with 18 titles. It is trying to reach the semifinals for the second time in three years.
U.S. team captain Kathy Rinaldi will be stepping down from her role after this year's Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
“I know in any tough situation, I can look over at Kathy and there is a calming presence about her," Collins said. "She’s one of my biggest role models on and off the court.”
Earlier in Group D, Italy defeated Germany 3-0 to reach its first Billie Jean King Cup semifinal in nine years.
Martina Trevisan defeated Eva Lys 7-6 (6), 6-1 before Jasmine Paolini beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3, 6-2.
In the doubles, Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Lucia Bronzetti defeated Friedsam and Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-7 (4), 11-9.
In Group C, Canada advanced by beating Poland for its second consecutive victory after defeating host Spain. Marina Stakusic got past Magdalena Frech 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Leylah Fernandez beat Magda Linette 6-2, 6-3.
Australia defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 in Alicia Molik’s final Billie Jean King Cup tie after 10 years as Aussie captain.
Storm Hunter put Australia ahead by beating Anna Danilina 7-6 (2), 6-4. Kazakhstan evened the tie with Yulia Putintseva defeating Kimberly Birrell 6-0, 7-5, and Hunter and Ellen Perez gave the Aussies the win by beating Danilina and Putintseva 6-1, 4-6, 10-5.
Australia had lost its opening tie to Slovenia in Group B.
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