Sports games

Defending champion France loses in BJK Cup final, Spain wins

Canada won the deciding double to topple defending champions France 2-1 in the Billie Jean King Cup final here.

Spain returned to beat Slovakia 2-1 for the first time after two defeats, including the 2002 final. In addition, the Czech Republic won in doubles to defeat Germany 2-1 in the Group D, and Belgium beat Belarus 2-1 on the hard courts of the O2 Arena on Monday.

After the French and Canadian teams parted ways in the opening singles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Rebecca Marino defeated Lara Burel and Alize Cornet 6-3, 7-6 (6).

“We should be really proud of ourselves,” said Marino.

In the opener, 353rd-ranked Françoise Abanda picked up a set to surprise 105th-ranked Fiona Ferro, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to put Canada ahead.

“I was a little nervous at first,” said Abanda. “I’m glad it turned out in my favor.” Cornet tied for France after beating Marino 6-4, 7-6 (5).

This victory marks Canada’s first over France since 1980.

Belgium’s Greet Minnen beat Iryna Shymanovich 6-2, 6-2, and Elise Mertens overcame fear in the second set to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 for an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

In doubles, Vera Lapko and Aliaksandra Sasnovich teamed up to win a 6-4, 6-3 consolation over Kirsten Flipkens and Mertens.

On Tuesday, Canada faces Russia and Belgium faces Australia.

Two-time Tokyo Games winner Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova joined forces to beat Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam and Jule Niemeier 6-4, 6 (2) -7, 10-8.

Earlier, three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber came back from a set to defeat Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova 6 (5) -7, 6-0, 6-4 to tie at 1-1.

“To be here again is a great feeling,” said Kerber, who was part of the Germany squad that lost to the Czechs in the 2014 final in the same arena.

Marketa Vondrousova sent Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-3 to give the Czechs the first point. The Tokyo Olympics runner-up dominated their first meeting, breaking Petkovic five times and relinquishing her serve once. She converted her first match point with a winning forehand.

“I was just playing my game, trying to do my best, so I’m happy,” Vondrousova said. “It’s just an amazing feeling to play for my country and also at home.” Spaniards Sara Sorribes Tormo and Carla Suárez Navarro completed the comeback against Slovakia by edging Viktoria Kuzmova and Tereza Mihalikova 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

Slovakia led 1-0 after Kuzmova hit nine aces and added 27 winners, beating Suárez Navarro 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Suárez Navarro returned to professional tennis after chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma at Roland Garros and has announced that it will be his last season on tour.

Sorribes Tormo also needed three sets to bring the score to 1-1 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Spain face the United States on Tuesday while Germany meet Switzerland.

The competition formerly known as the Fed Cup was originally scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary, in April 2020 but has been postponed for 12 months due to the pandemic. In February, it was postponed again.

Organizers were then forced to find a new host – Prague – when Budapest pulled out in May, citing continued concerns over COVID-19.

The 12 teams in the final are divided into four groups of three teams. Only the group winners advance to the semi-finals on Friday.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)