Czech Republic beat USA to reach semi-finals

Katerina Siniakova (left) and Barbora Krejcikova (right) are the Olympic doubles champions

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova propelled the Czech Republic into the Billie Jean King semi-finals with a decisive doubles victory over the USA.

The seven-time Grand Slam doubles champions defeated Danielle Collins and Taylor Townsend 6-3 7-5 to secure a 2-1 win and book a place against Canada.

Joining the eleven-times champions in the last four are Slovenia, who achieved their first-ever semi-final appearance.

Despite a 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan, Slovenia advanced from Group B with the best sets win-loss record of all three teams and will now face Group D winners Italy in the semi-final.

At the Finals of the women’s team competition, four groups of three teams competed in Seville, with only the group winners qualifying for the weekend’s semi-finals.

Czechs win battle of the heavyweights

In a decisive Group A showdown between the tournament’s two most successful teams, the USA took a 1-0 lead when Collins defeated Siniakova 6-3 6-2 in the opening singles.

However, the Czechs, who have clinched six of the past eleven editions, rallied when Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova dominated 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-1 6-1 in the second singles.

The place in the semi-finals came down to the doubles, with the Czechs showing their prowess as Olympic doubles champions, Krejcikova and Siniakova, clinching the win despite a nervy second set featuring seven breaks of serve and numerous lead changes.

‘It hasn’t sunk in’ – Slovenia make history

While the Czech Republic is accustomed to advancing far in the competition, Slovenia is celebrating uncharted territory.

The lowest ranked of the 12 teams, Slovenia surprised by defeating Australia in their group opener, positioning them on the cusp of a semi-final berth.

With favorable results, Slovenia advanced despite a 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan, securing the spot based on the best sets win-loss record of the three teams in their group.

Slovenia made a strong start with Kaja Juvan overpowering Anna Danilina and Tamara Zidansek sealing the team’s pass into the semi-final with a win over Yulia Putintseva.

Even though Zidansek then lost the next set and retired injured, and her team lost the doubles, her achievements are a cause for historic celebration.

“For me, it hasn’t sunk in,” Zidansek said. “Maybe in a week when we all come home, we’ll look back at this. Obviously we still have a lot to do. It’s not finished yet.”

What is the Billie Jean King Cup – and when do GB play?

Twelve nations competed in the Finals of the competition, with teams divided into four groups in the round-robin stage.

Group winners advanced to the semi-finals, and the champion will be crowned after Sunday’s final in Seville, with a prize money of $2.4m (£2.1m) and an overall payment pot of $9.6m (£8.4m).

Great Britain did not qualify after losing to France in April’s qualifying stage and will now face Sweden in a play-off tie, with live coverage available on BBC Sport.


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