London. Led by world number one Iga Swiatek, Poland reached the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time, which were also won by the Czech Republic, six-times champions since 2011, Spain, Italy and Kazakhstan.
At 52 minutes, Swiatek finished off Romania’s Andreea Prisacariu 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 19 matches in her second rivalry since rising to the top of the WTA Tour following the retirement of Ash Party.
“It took us several years, step by step, to progress and finally qualify,” the 20-year-old said in a court interview. “We hope to show more progress in the final. I am very proud of us.”
By winning the 2020 French Open, Poland advanced 4-0 in the qualifiers with five games to reach the final.
Meanwhile, Camila Giorgi won the decisive third point for Italy over France in Alghero. Harmony defeated Tan Gala 6-2, 6-0.
Kazakh Elena Rybakina also got the third decisive point for her country (3-1) by defeating German Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The Czechs, the six-time champion of the Fed Cup in the style of the men’s Davis Cup, had to fight to the end to beat the British 3-2 in Prague.
The impromptu pairing of Karolina Muchova and Marketa Vondrosova outperformed Harriet Dart and Katie Swann 6-1 7-5.
Vondrosova, who reached the final of the 2019 French Open, started the day with a landslide victory over US Open champion Emma Radocano 6-1, 6-1.
Raducanu had to dial in time after the first set to treat a blister on his right foot that later worsened.
Dart kept Britain in contention by defeating 16-year-old Czech Linda Frohvertova 6-0 5-7, 6-2 in just over two hours.
Spain qualified without losing a single set against the Netherlands in Bolduc, after Sarah Soribes won the second point by defeating Arantexa Ross 6-0, 6-4, and the Iberians determined the result 4-0 by winning the doubles.
The United States and Canada also qualified by defeating Ukraine 3-2 and Latvia 3-0, respectively.
Prior to the qualifying round, four countries already had tickets for the final stage of the tournament, which will take place from November 8-13 at a venue to be determined: Switzerland (current runner-up), Australia, Belgium and Slovakia.
Russia, excluded from the tournament due to the incursion into Ukraine, will not defend its title as well as Belarus.
The seven losing teams in the preliminary round, which took place on Friday and Saturday, will have to play a playoff on November 11-12 to remain in the elite.
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