Russia, USA host Billie Jean King Cup semi-final clash

Tennis – Billie Jean King Cup – Finals – O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic – November 3, 2021 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of the Russian Tennis Federation celebrates her group stage victory over France’s Alize Cornet REUTERS / David W Cerny

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  • Pavlyuchenkova seals Russia’s half-place with victory over Cornet
  • Russia beat defending champions France 2-1
  • USA beat Spain to reach semi-finals

PRAGUE, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova recovered from a set to beat Alize Cornet on Wednesday and help the Russian Tennis Federation oust the defending champions France and reach the semi-finals for Billie Jean King Cup for the first time since 2015.

The Russians will face the United States after beating Spain 2-1 to take first place in Group C in the other match of the day at the O2 Arena in Prague.

Team RTF, whose five players in Prague are ranked in the top 40 in the world, only needed to win one game in their second round robin match in Group A after shutting out Canada 3 -0 in his first game.

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Ekaterina Alexandrova lost the first rubber to Clara Burel, leaving Pavlyuchenkova, the top-ranked Russian team in 12th place, having to beat the 59th Cornet to avoid letting her fate depend on the doubles.

Cornet showed heart against the hard-hitting Russian to win the opening set, but Pavlyuchenkova found extra equipment and more power to face a grueling 5-7 6-4 6-2 game.

Pavlyuchenkova broke Cornet’s serve three times in the deciding set and converted her first match point with an impeccable volley before launching a jig with teammate Daria Kasatkina on the pitch.

“I’m really, really tired right now because I gave it my all physically and emotionally,” Pavlyuchenkova told reporters.

“I didn’t feel so good before the game actually, and in the first set I was a little slow for some reason… but in the end I found that incredible energy and I was in that kind of thing. area and ambiance. “

Burel and Cornet returned to the pitch for the double, hoping to at least help France win the draw, but Russia’s pair Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova completely dominated them in a 6-2 6-1 victory.

In the new tournament format, 12 teams have been split into four round robin groups and the group winners advance to the semi-finals on Friday, with the final on Saturday.

The 18-time world champion USA were under pressure after losing to Slovakia in their opener and knew only a convincing win over Spain would be enough.

Sloane Stephens opened with a 6-4 6-4 win over Nuria Parrizas Diaz before Danielle Collins defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo for the loss of just one game to seal the tie.

A straight-set victory for Spain’s Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova over Caroline Dolehide and Coco Vandeweghewas was purely academic as Kathy Rinaldi’s USA were assured of top spot in the group with a higher win / lose percentage.

Russia, which won the old Fed Cup four times between 2004 and 2008, will meet the United States on Friday.

Thursday’s action concludes the group game with Australia v Belarus in Group B and Switzerland against hosts Czech Republic in Group D.

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Report by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; edited by Christian Radnedge and Ed Osmond

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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