Emma Raducanu Leads Britain Past France For A Spot In The Billie Jean King Cup Finals

LONDON: Emma Raducanu defeated Diane Parry of France on Saturday, capturing the final six points to secure Britain’s spot in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals. The victory gave Raducanu an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five qualifying round.

Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open winner who was sidelined for the majority of the previous season due to injuries, also overcame a set down in her maiden singles match on Friday on an indoor clay court in Le Portel, France, against Caroline Garcia.

This was a replay of the qualifying match from the previous year, in which France prevailed; as of Friday, the two nations were level at one. On Saturday, Britain led 2-1 with Katie Boulter’s 7-5, 6-0 victory against Clara Burel, before Raducanu prevailed in a match that lasted almost three hours. She had two match points while serving for the victory at 5-3 and led Parry 5-2 in the third set, but she required the tiebreaker to win.

In 2023, Raducanu underwent surgery on one ankle and both wrists. She threw down her racket on the ground after Saturday’s victory, bent to put her hands on her knees, and stood grinning broadly.

“It’s just a testament to the work we’ve been doing to be able to put two matches like that back to back — three sets and on clay, against really tough opponents,” Raducanu, who has been as high as No. 10 in the WTA rankings, said. This week, he is No. 302, more than 250 places below both Garcia (No. 23) and Parry (No. 49). “And I had faith that it would eventually pay off. Thus, I’m overjoyed that it was able to manifest this past weekend.

Britain has never won the international team competition for women.

Poland, with No. 1 Iga Swiatek leading the way, Among the other nations that made it to the Finals, which will take place in Seville, Spain, in November, were Slovakia, Australia, and Japan. The eight qualifying winners join the 12-team Finals field, which also includes the reigning champion Canada, 2023 runner-up Italy, host Spain, and wild-card selection Czech Republic.

As of Saturday morning, the US was leading Belgium 2-0, Ukraine was leading Romania 2-0, and Germany was leading Brazil 2-0.

Swiatek defeated Celine Naef of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to take a 3-0 lead and guarantee a spot for Poland. Swiatek, who has won one Grand Slam at the U.S. Open and two at the French Open, also triumphed in her debut singles match at Biel, Switzerland, on an indoor hard court.

Without requiring four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka to play a second match on an indoor hard court in Tokyo, Japan defeated Kazakhstan 3-0. This is because Osaka’s victory over Putintseva on Friday gave the home team a 2-0 lead. On Saturday, Nao Hibino defeated Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7).

On an indoor hard court in Bratislava, 16-year-old Renata Jamrichova defeated Veronika Erjavec 6-2, 6-0 to give the hosts a 3-0 lead over visiting Slovenia and advance Slovakia to the Finals.

On an outdoor hard court in Brisbane, Taylah Preston defeated Marcela Zacarias 6-1, 6-1 to give Australia a 3-0 lead over Mexico.


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