Switzerland wins Billie Jean King Cup championship for first time

It was a historic day for the Swiss on Sunday as they won their first ever Billie Jean King Cup title in professional tennis’ premier women’s team event.

Jill Teichmann and reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic combined for singles wins to give Switzerland an unassailable 2-0 lead over Australia in a semifinal replay in Glasgow, Scotland.

In the opening match of the day, Teichman defeated this week’s breakout player Storm Sanders 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Bencic then won the trophy with a quick 6-2, 6-1 win over Ajla Tomljanovic.

“We were finalists last year and we were very disappointed,” Bencic said on court after the week ended. “But in the locker room [Teichmann] I came over and said, ‘We’ll do it next year, we’ll buy it.’ And we did, and I’m very proud.”

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

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Seven-time champions Australia are seeking their first title since 1974.

In last year’s Billie Jean King Cup semifinals, Teichmann defeated fellow left-hander Sanders 6-0, 6-3. However, Sanders, a top-10 player in doubles but ranked No. 237 in singles, came into their rematch at the end of an eye-opening week. In Glasgow, Sanders had won all three of her previous singles matches and went 2-1 in doubles.

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

However, Teichmann was able to break 3-2 in the decider through an 11-minute match, and she scored aggressively as the set progressed. An ace gave Teichmann a 5-3 lead, and she finished off a challenging match by hitting a quick forehand winner to win after 2 hours and 18 minutes.

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“It was a big fight,” Teichman said later in court. “The Storm have been playing really well all week and I was expecting a big fight. So here I am, fighting, and I’m so glad I got the point.

Bencic followed with a commanding performance, taking 1 hour and 15 minutes to dispatch Tomlanovic in a match between the top-ranked players from their respective countries. Bencic converted half of her 12 break points in the win.

Bencic broke to 5-2 after converting the fifth break point in a 10-minute match, then closed out the first set with her signature backhand volley winner.

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

“We didn’t win this today; it was this week, it really took years, we tried to get better and better,” said team captain Heinz Günthardt. “You’ve seen how many close points you’ve had; who knows why we win some and lose some. A lot has to do with heart, and this team has a lot of heart.”

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Meanwhile, the draw for next year’s Billie Jean King Cup qualifier was held on Sunday. They will be held from 14-15 April 2023.

This weekend, 16 nations faced off in home and away ties, with the eight winners of those ties moving into the 2023 qualifying draw, along with the 10 nations that finished between third and 12th in Glasgow this week.

The 9 winners from the following matches will join this year’s finalists Switzerland and Australia and the host country (or wild card if already qualified) in next year’s Billie Jean King Cup final.


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