Australia charges into Billie Jean King Cup semifinals
Australia has recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Belgium to qualify for the semifinals at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
The Australian team has qualified for the semifinals at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, securing its place with a commanding 3-0 victory against Belgium in Glasgow today.
Storm Sanders played a starring role, scoring a 6-2 6-2 victory against world No.54 Alison Van Uytanck in the opening rubber.
“It was a lot closer than the score. There was a lot of key moments where it could have swung Alison’s way,” said world No.237 Sanders.
“I think I just played really well under pressure and managed to keep the pressure on her serve. I served really well today. I faced a couple of break points, but I felt in control of my serve, and I think that put pressure on her.
“Obviously playing for your country, it’s quite emotional. The game plan kind of goes out the window and you’ve just got to play with fight and determination and just try and stick with it. I think that’s what I did.”
Tomljanovic sealed Australia’s victory when Elise Mertens retired with a shoulder injury during their clash. The Australian No.1 was leading 4-6 6-4 3-0.
“The whole match I just struggled to find my rhythm, my game,” said Tomljanovic, who fought back from a 4-6 1-4 deficit.
“But the key was just to not give up. I think this week that’s what it’s all about. It’s about finding ways and never thinking it’s over.”
Sanders then combined superbly with Sam Stosur to complete a clean sweep, scoring a 6-4 6-3 win against Belgian pair Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens.
“It was so much fun. It’s the first time me and Sam have played together,” said Sanders.
“You know, kind of always grown up watching her and idolising her … to step on on the court with her today was so much fun. We really enjoyed it and we played really well, which is awesome.”
This is Australia’s third consecutive semifinal appearance in the team competition – a feat last achieved in 1982.
“I feel like we are in a better position coming into the semis,” Tomljanovic said. “I feel like we are confident where we believe like we can actually win, whereas last year we were, like, ‘Wow, we made the semis, what a great achievement’.
“This year it feels a little bit different, as it should. We have showed really great tennis to get ourselves there and it feels good to be in that position.”
As winner of Group B, Australia now faces the Group C winner Great Britain in a knockout semifinal on Saturday.
The Australian team is aiming to progress to only its third final in the past 30 years, having recorded runner-up finishes in 1993 and 2019.
The last time Australia won the prestigious Billie Jean King Cup title was in 1974, when Evonne Goolagong Cawley spearheaded the team.
“We are not here to participate, we are here to try and win this event,” said Sanders.
Billie Jean King Cup Finals – results
AUSTRALIA d BELGIUM 3-0
Storm Sanders (AUS) d Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-2 6-2
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Elise Mertens (BEL) 4-6 6-4 3-0 ret.
Storm Sanders/Sam Stosur (AUS) d Ysaline Bonaventure/Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-4 6-3
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