Billie Jean King Cup

  • November 25, 2023

Emma Raducanu gained on her Billie Jean King Cup debut to haul remarkable Britain stage with the Czech Republic and leave the qualifying tie delicately poised. Raducanu, 19, became gambling her first senior fit on clay, adjusting nicely to the floor to win 7-five towards global variety 50 Tereza Martincova. the United States Open champion levelled the pleasant-of-5 tie after Harriet Dart misplaced 6-1 6-0 to Marketa Vondrousova.

The nations play two singles matches on Saturday, plus a double if wanted. The winners will qualify for November’s finals, at the same time as the runners-up face a play-off tie the equal week. Britain is most of the nation’s bidding to host the finals and can also still qualify as the host nation.

Relive how GB fought returned against the Czech Republic

Following her stunning ascent in the beyond yr., it is easy to overlook how Raducanu is still a novice in terms of expert enjoy.

but she confirmed each bit of her skills and mentality to come back via a tough struggle with 27-yr-antique Martincova.

The teen stored a fixed factor at 5-4 inside the opener earlier than winning the subsequent 3 video games, and additionally fought returned from a four-1 deficit inside the 2d.

Raducanu gained six of the very last seven video games to clinch a critical victory for herself and her group, showing her elation with an enthusiastic birthday celebration before she became hugged by means of her group-friends.

With infection and damage hampering her first full season on the main WTA excursion, it changed into best Raducanu’s third match win in 2022.

“This one way so much to me,” stated international quantity 12 Raducanu, who is set to play Vondrousova inside the reverse singles on Saturday.

“This year I’ve won a whole lot of the primary units, I’ve been leading the suit, however to definitely close it out in sets truly gave me loads of self-assurance and I’m very happy that I controlled to.

“Playing on clay truly took a few adjusting, even now. The conditions were very windy and some bad bounces, so that you could alter and adapt inside the state of affairs became very difficult but I’m very proud of ways I dug in.

“Within the beginning of the second set, I went a piece flat and absolutely everyone in my group became telling me the depth had dropped. it’s far hard to regain that but I’m very glad I did ultimately.”

‘She did not let me play nicely’

Raducanu leads a new-appearance British aspect in Prague, with the facet not capable to call on both these days retired Johanna Konta or Heather Watson for the primary time considering that 2010.

Captain Anne Keothavong recognizes it’s far a “changing of the protect” and says she is excited through the crop of young gamers she has at her disposal.

but they face a hard task against the Czechs, who have received the group event six times in view that 2011, on the out of doors clay, even though they’re without star trio Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

Dart, 25, broke into the arena top a hundred these days after reaching the fourth round at Indian Wells, however she changed into not able to supply a strong start for Britain.

Vondrousova is ranked thirty second inside the world and her best on clay showed.

British range two Dart broke serve in the opening recreation however became unable to preserve the pressure – mainly struggling on her very own serve and producing seven double faults – as she misplaced in just 55 minutes.

“It was a very hard healthy. I just feel like I need some greater time on the clay. I’m very inexperienced at the floor and he or she is a Grand Slam finalist in this surface,” said Dart.

“She certainly positioned me under pressure lots. I didn’t experience my fine but she additionally failed to let me play nicely.” Harriet Dart (right) remains searching for her first singles victory within the BJK Cup


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent in Prague more frequently than not this yr., the tight sets and the tight matches have long past against Emma Raducanu.

but right here, on her clay courtroom and British senior group debut and with victory almost vital within the context of the tie, she regarded to have extra perception at the crucial moments.

the United States Open champion handiest started to play points on clay on Wednesday, however as we’ve got already found, the 19-12 months-antique is a quick learner.

it will still require a good-looking effort for Britain to win this tie, and as a Roland Garros runner-up, Marketa Vondrousova is probably to offer a sterner take a look at for Raducanu in Saturday’s commencing in shape.

In almost all other tennis careers, players generally tend to have the advantage of making their first mistakes in relative silence. the first steps on a new floor usually take region in the anonymity of the ITF circuit or within the again courts of a decrease degree excursion event – they learn, they grow, after which finally they thrive on their phrases.

it is truthful to say that such avenues are not open to Emma Raducanu. On Friday she changed into charged with finding her feet on clay because the #1 player for her country against the dominant state in the sport. Moments earlier, her teammate, Harriet Dart, had managed to win just one sport within the commencing rubber. The strain becomes plain.

Emma Raducanu

‘No toenails left’: Emma Raducanu puts in tough yards for first feet of clay yet she rose to the moment admirably, improving from doubtful deficits in both units thru the energy of her grit and perseverance, in the end overcoming No 50 Tereza Martincova 7-5, 7-five to win on her Billie Jean King Cup debut and maintain tremendous Britain in contention. earlier in the day, Marketa Vondrousova opened the tie via eviscerating Dart 6-1, 6-0, meaning the BJK Cup Qualifier with the Czech Republic is finely poised at 1-1 beforehand of the very last day.

“This one approach a lot to me because it is my first match in the Billie Jean King Cup,” stated Raducanu afterwards. “To symbolize my group and pop out here for my first expert healthy on a clay courtroom is absolutely awesome. we’re still on this conflict. It’s all to play for the next day.”

as the attritional exchanges took hold in frequent gusts of wind, Martincova continually picked aside the Raducanu forehand, difficult her to dictate off her weaker wing while grinding her down. It slowly labored as Martincova broke serve at four-four and generated a hard and fast factor as she tried to serve out the set.

however, as the match wore on, Raducanu looked for solutions and she or he found them. She started to enforce extra topspin into her strokes, throwing up loopy balls to arrest the momentum of rallies or dragging Martincova off the court with extra width. Raducanu stored the set point at 5-4 and reeled off 3 hard games to take the set.

within the second set, however, her level dropped as she fell down 1-4 with breaks. but this time Raducanu pulled her sport together by persevering with to disrupt Martincova by varying the trajectory of her photographs. inside the numerous onerous video games that accompanied, which include a manic recreation at 4-four on Raducanu’s serve that blanketed nine deuces and four wreck points, she slowly pulled back to win.

Harriet Dart of extremely good Britain speaks to their teach Anne Keothavong even as gambling in opposition to Marketa Vondrousova.

“I’ve [been] playing simply appropriate tennis for a hard and fast, maybe a hard and fast and a half of, then my strength dips,” she said. “And then I locate myself in an absolute warfare and it we could me down. however today I feel find it irresistible any other step in the proper direction because I’ve managed to triumph over that. in order that does provide me a whole lot of self-belief.”

Raducanu arrived in Prague with a 2-five file in 2022 and this is the very best ranked opponent she has even taken a fixed off because the US Open semi-final. A non-public breakthrough for her, it also puts her group in an interesting role as she returns on Saturday morning to face Vondrousova because the clear underdog.

inside the opening rubber, Vondrousova replied to dropping her commencing service sport via reeling off 12 video games in a row to dismantle Dart in 55 mins. For Dart, the venture might have been extraordinarily difficult on any floor, however on clay in opposition to the 2019 French Open finalist, who’s an artist with the drop shot, it turned into without a doubt overwhelming. the only-sided end result leaves captain Anne Keothavong with a selection to make about whether to play Dart again, Katie Swan or in particular the promising however absolutely inexperienced 20-yr-antique Sonay Kartal.

“I trust we’ve were given an excellent chance,” said Keothavong. “We came here as underdogs. The Czechs nevertheless are the heavy favorites but we are able to review how each suits went today and positioned all the sport plans in location. It calls for the gamers for you to execute beneath strain, but they may be as well prepared as viable.”

As Keohavong completed, Raducanu leaned forward with a mischievous smile on her face to deal with nobody particularly: “The Brits love being underdogs, by means of the manner,” she said.

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The Billie Jean King Cup qualifying round kicked off on Friday, with 14 countries dealing with off in domestic-and-away ties to decide who will boost to November’s finals of the preeminent team opposition in girls’ professional tennis.

Day 1 matches saw international No.1 Iga Swiatek and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu a few of the gamers who picked up wins for his or her international locations. three match-wins by using a rustic are required over Friday and Saturday to make the finals.

Swiatek breezed beyond former top 20 participant Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-0 in under an hour to finish a 2-zero beginning day for Poland. Swiatek has now won 18 suits in a row, spanning Hologic WTA tour occasions and the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying spherical.

“The streak that I’ve at the WTA excursion has given me so much self-belief that right now I can simply position stress on my opponents and that is truly a privilege,” Swiatek said in a while, as cited via the Billie Jean King Cup website.

earlier, Magda Linette, a current quarterfinalist in Charleston, gave domestic crew Poland an early lead over Romania with a 6-1, four-6, 6-2 win over Irina-Camelia Begu.

Raducanu of amazing Britain earned her first win over a top 50 player this season whilst she knocked out Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic 7-five, 7-five to degree their tie at 1-1. It changed into Raducanu’s first clay-courtroom match at tour degree.

“This win method so much to me,” Raducanu said, as the Billie Jean King Cup website pronounced. “it’s miles my first Billie Jean King Cup match and to come out and represent my team like I did in my first expert match on clay is honestly first rate.”

earlier, Marketa Vondrousova dispatched Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-0 in below an hour to present home crew Czech Republic the early lead. The Czechs have these days dominated the Billie Jean King Cup, prevailing an impressive six of the remaining 10 editions.

the very best-ranked player to fall on Day 1 become former world No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany. Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan overcame 3-time Grand Slam titlist Kerber three-6, 6-3, 6-2 to open a sterling day for her squad.

Following that match, Elena Rybakina bested Laura Siegemund 6-0, 6-1, and home team Kazakhstan exited Friday with a commanding 2-0 lead over former champion Germany.

4-time champion Italy additionally took a 2-zero lead over 3-time champion France after the primary day. Jasmine Paolini squeaked past Alizé Cornet 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(2), and Camila Giorgi blasted beyond Oceane Dodin 6-1, 6-2.

5-time champion Spain is some other 2-zero leader after Friday’s matches towards the Netherlands. Nuria Parrizas Diaz beat Arantxa Rus 6-2, 7-6(4) and Sara Sorribes Tormos defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-four, 6-3.