Friday, December 8, 2023

Spain falls to Canada and the future becomes complicated in the Billie Jean King Cup

The Spanish team got off to a bad start in the ’round robin’ of the Finals of the Billie Jean King Cupwhich are played at the La Cartuja Stadium in Seville, with the defeats this Wednesday Rebeka Masarova and Sara Sorribesalso as a couple in the doubles, in a devastating 3-0 in the tie against Canada.

Spain little by little mortgaged its chances of advancing to the semifinals in a tournament that won for the fifth and last time in 1998. Anabel Medina’s team, which did not have Paula Badosa who entered just in preparation after a long injury, will have to hope that Canada does not beat Poland this Thursday and, then, calculate its options against the Poles on Friday.

Masarova, a debutant although she had already played two doubles matches, suffered from debut nerves and found herself outclassed by a young Marina Stakusic, 18 years old and number 258 in the world, 6-3, 6-1. The importance of the premiere and the status of hostess, as well as favorite theorist, turned against Masarova.

This year’s finalist in Auckland was surprised by Stakusic who did not concede a single break option to her rival in the first set, and scored the lead after breaking the Spanish in the fourth game. Masarova, who took the place that indicated Paula Badosa without filming, continued to fall in the second set.

The American tennis player went 4-0, at which point the local player tried to make good on the push of The Charterhouse. Anabel Medina’s pupil had options to break her rival’s serve in the next two turns, but Stakusic held on with surprising solidity, in what was also her debut in the Tennis World Cup.

Against the ropes, Sorribes then jumped against a Leylah Fernandez unbeatable in this tournament. The Canadian won (7-6(8), 7-6(7)) to add 12 wins out of 13 duels in the formerly called Federation Cup. Sorribes had the victory in his hand, or at least he had three and two balls to score the first set and then the second, but Fernández won both tie-breaks.

The Castellón native knew the importance of her point and her status as number one, but the recent champion in Hong Kong had answers for everything, including Sorribes’ two breaks in the first set. In the tiebreaker, the Canadian was able to lift those three decisive balls and the young American was also reborn in the second set, 3-5 down and another ‘tie-breaker’ hectic.

Despite the overall defeat in the tie, the doubles point could be vital, and Anabel Medina He trusted his two best players. The captain changed the plan and returned Sorribes to the court, just half an hour after her defeat in the individual, and Masarova, both with the challenge of making a clean slate, against Eugenie Bouchard and Gabriela Dabrowski.

The North Americans won (6-3, 7-5) to certify a 3-0 against a Spain without points or sets, forced to wait for a miracle so as not to fall again in the group stage of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals as happened in 2021 and 2022.

In the other tie played this Wednesday in La Cartuja, within Group D, Italy beat (2-1) France, thanks to the victories of Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini against Alize Cornet (2-6, 6-2, 6-2) and Caroline Garcia (7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4). In the doubles, France added a point that could be important in the event of a tie, thanks to Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, winners over Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Trevisan by 5-7, 6-2, 10-6.


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