Tennis

Switzerland wins the Billie Jean King Cup championship for the first time

Sunday was a historic day for Switzerland as they won their first Billie Jean King Cup title, prevailing in the premier women’s team event in professional tennis.

Jil Teichmann and reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic combined for individual victories to give the Swiss an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Australia in a rematch of last year’s semi-finals, winning the coveted championship in Glasgow, Scotland.

In the opening match of the day, Teichmann outclassed this week’s breakout player, Storm Sanders, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Bencic then followed up with a swift 6-2, 6-1 victory over Ajla Tomljanovic to clinch the trophy.

“We were finalists last year and we were very heartbroken,” Bencic said on court after the week ended. “But in the locker room [Teichmann] he came to me and said ‘next year, we’re going to do it, we’re going to take it’. And we did it, I’m very proud.”

Switzerland, runners-up last year and also in 1998, completed the dream week with a 9-1 victory in Glasgow. Viktorija Golubic and Simona Waltert also contributed to the team’s effort in Scotland.

Australia, seven times champions, were seeking their first title since 1974.

In last year’s Billie Jean King Cup semifinal, Teichmann had defeated fellow southpaw Sanders 6-0, 6-3. However, Sanders, a Top 10 player in doubles but ranked 237th in singles, came to his revenge at the end of a revealing week. In Glasgow, Sanders had won all three of his previous singles matches and was 2-1 in doubles.

Sanders’ form carried over into Sunday’s clash, where her sublime volleys and fighting spirit carried her back from a set and a break to take her clash with Teichmann to a decisive third set.

However, Teichmann rallied through an 11-minute game to break 3-2 in the decider, finishing off more points aggressively as the set wore on. An ace gave Teichmann a 5-3 lead, and she closed out the challenging match by firing a forehand winner down the line to break for the win after 2 hours and 18 minutes.

“It was a great battle,” Teichmann said on court afterward. “Storm is playing very well all week, I was expecting a great fight. So here I was, getting the fight, and I’m super happy I got the point.”

Bencic followed up with a commanding performance, taking 1 hour and 15 minutes to dispatch Tomljanovic in a matchup between the best players from the respective nations. Bencic converted half of his 12 break points en route to victory.

Bencic broke for 5-2 after converting her fifth break point in a 10-minute game, then ended the first set with a volley winner from her trademark winger, the backhand.

In the second set, a forehand return gave Bencic an early break for 2-1, and last year’s Olympic gold medalist never looked back as the week ended in Glasgow.

“We didn’t win this just today; it was this week, actually it was for years, we tried to get better and better,” said team captain Heinz Günthardt. “You saw how many closed points there were; who knows why we win some and lose others. A lot has to do with heart, and this team has a lot of heart.”

Meanwhile, the draw for next year’s Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers took place on Sunday. They will take place from April 14 to 15, 2023.

This weekend, 16 nations met in home-and-away ties, with the eight winners of those ties moving on to the draw for the 2023 Qualifiers, along with the 10 nations that finished between 3rd and 12th place in Glasgow this week. .

The nine winners of the matchups below will join this year’s finalists Switzerland and Australia and the host nation (or, if already qualified, a wildcard) in next year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals:

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