Abanda spearheads Canadian upset of France to kick off BJK Cup Finals; Belgium dispatch Belarus

The 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals kicked off with a basic underdog victory as Canada, fielding a crew and not using a High 100 participant, shocked defending champions France 2-1 in Group A. Concurrently on the O2 Enviornment in Prague, Belgium obtained their Group B round-robin marketing campaign off to a positive begin with a 2-1 defeat of former finalists Belarus.

The final time the crew competitors was staged, Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia introduced dwelling France’s third trophy after an exhilarating 3-2 away victory over Australia. Neither participant was current on the revamped Finals, the primary below the occasion’s new title and the primary in a week-long, single-venue format. Nonetheless, the skilled Alizé Cornet and Fiona Ferro had been favoured to return via in opposition to a Canadian squad additionally missing its highest-ranked gamers, Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Fernandez.

Nonetheless, World No.353 Françoise Abanda has a historical past of enjoying her finest tennis for her nation. The 24-year-old has by no means been ranked contained in the High 100, however owns Billie Jean King Cup victories over Irina-Camelia Begu, Jana Cepelova, Yulia Putintseva and Arantxa Rus. So it proved once more right here. Regardless of coming into the week with a meagre 5-6 win-loss document in 2021 throughout all ranges, Abanda battled to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset of Ferro.

Cornet levelled for France by defeating Marino 6-4, 7-6(5), however Canada had the sting in a deciding doubles rubber. Gabriela Dabrowski, the doubles World No.5, joined up with Marino to beat Cornet and Billie Jean King Cup rookie Clara Burel 6-3, 7-6(6).

In 2017, Belarus had been the underdogs who stole the present, going all the best way to the ultimate regardless of the absence of two-time main champion Victoria Azarenka. They may not repeat the trick in opposition to Belgium.

Learn extra: Belgium make profitable begin to Finals

Greet Minnen dispatched World No.263 Iryna Shymanovich 6-2, 6-2 in simply 69 minutes to provide her nation the lead, and Belgian No.1 Elise Mertens backed that up by defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Mertens had gained only one match in 4 conferences with Sasnovich previous to this 12 months, however following a victory in Luxembourg two months in the past has now levelled their head-to-head at three apiece.

Belarus did handle to get on the scoreboard by capturing the doubles rubber, with Sasnovich and Vera Lapko defeating Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-3.

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