Canada made history in Seville, Spain by winning its first Billie Jean King Cup title in a sweeping manner on Sunday.
Marina Stakusic and Leylah Fernandez secured two straight-sets singles wins against four-time champion Italy in the final tie, giving the Canadians an insurmountable 2-0 lead and their maiden championship at the premier women’s tennis team event.
Stakusic, an 18-year-old ranked No.258, started the day with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over 43rd-ranked Martina Trevisan. Fernandez followed up by defeating Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-3 in a Top 40 showdown, clinching the trophy for her country.
The dominant display completes a stunning showing for Canada, whose previous best result at the Billie Jean King Cup had been a semifinal finish 35 years ago in 1988.
But after making their semifinal return by beating Poland and home team Spain in group play, captain Heidi El Tabakh and her squad maintained their winning momentum in the knockout stages.
Saturday’s semifinal against 11-time champion Czech Republic saw Fernandez securing upset wins in singles and doubles to propel Canada into their first final.
In Sunday’s final, Canada had to confront two Top 50 players in Trevisan and Paolini, each of whom had gone a perfect 3-0 in singles play before the championship tie.
Italy also had a recent legacy of Billie Jean King Cup success, having won their four titles in an eight-year span from 2006 to 2013.
Stakusic set the tone with a commanding victory over former Top 20 player Trevisan, marking her first win over a current Top 50 player in her career.
Fernandez, the 2021 US Open finalist, had to grind out a number of lengthy games against Paolini before securing the win to wrap up Canada’s historic week.
The Canadian women needed just a single year to match the heroics of the Canadian men, who won their country’s first Davis Cup title 12 months ago.
Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.