Leylah Fernandez won a near three-hour epic to inspire Canada to victory over hosts Spain at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville on Wednesday.
Former US Open finalist Fernandez overcame Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (9-7) to seal the point which gave Canada victory against hosts Spain in the opening Group C showdown.
Her victory fired Canada into an unassailable lead following the earlier heroics of teenager Marina Stakusic, who enjoyed a debut to remember as she upset world No 65 Rebeka Masarova 6-3 6-1.
Canada are in pole position in Group C and can seal a spot in the semi-finals with victory over Poland on Thursday.
Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini gave Italy a 2-1 victory over France in their opening Group D clash.
Trevisan recovered from a slow start to beat the experienced Alize Cornet 2-6 6-2 6-2 in the opening rubber.
The 27-year-old Paolini then battled back from 4-2 down in the deciding set to beat Caroline Garcia 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 6-4 in a match lasting two hours and 39 minutes.
Garcia returned to the doubles court with Kristina Mladenovic to beat Trevisan and Elisabetta Cocciaretto 5-7 6-2 10-6 to salvage a point for France.
“Tomorrow will be another day and will be very tough day, for sure,” Italy captain Tathiana Garbin said. “I think right now everything is still open.”
Italy have now beaten France five times in their last seven meetings in the flagship women’s team competition.
Thursday’s action will also see reigning champions Switzerland attempt to stay alive in Group A as they take on the USA. Australia will also be looking for their first win as they take on Kazakhstan.
What is the Billie Jean King Cup?
You may remember it by its previous name of the Federation Cup, or its abbreviated form – Fed Cup.
In 2020 the competition was renamed to honour 39-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King – who won it seven times as a player and four times as a captain.
The Finals see 12 qualifying nations split into four groups of three, with only the winners of each progressing to the semi-finals. All ties will consist of three matches – two singles, followed by doubles.
The BJK Cup Finals are being played at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville. It will run through Sunday offering a record total of $9.6m in prize money, including $2.4m to the champions.
What are the Groups & Teams?
|Belinda Bencic||Marketa Vondrousova||Madison Keys|
|Viktorija Golubic||Karolina Muchova||Sofia Kenin|
|Celine Naef||Barbora Krejcikova||Danielle Collins|
|Jil Teichmann||Linda Noskova||Sloane Stephens|
|Katerina Siniakova||Taylor Townsend|
|Kimberly Birrell||Elena Rybakina||Tamara Zidansek|
|Storm Hunter||Yulia Putintseva||Kaja Juvan|
|Daria Saville||Zhibek Kulambayeva||Veronika Erjavec|
|Ajla Tomljanovic||Aruzhan Sagandikova||Nina Potocnik|
|Ellen Perez||Anna Danilina||Ela Nala Milic|
|Paula Badosa||Leylah Fernandez||Magda Linette|
|Sara Sorribes Tormo||Rebecca Marino||Magdalena Frech|
|Rebeka Masarova||Eugenie Bouchard||Katarzyna Kawa|
|Cristina Bucsa||Marina Stakusic||Weronika Falkowska|
|Marina Bassols Ribera||Gabriela Babrowski|
|Caroline Garcia||Jasmine Paolini||Tatjana Maria|
|Varvara Gracheva||Elisabetta Cocciaretto||Anna-Lena Friedsam|
|Clara Burel||Martina Trevisan||Laura Siegmund|
|Alize Cornet||Lucia Bronzetti||Eva Lys|
|Kristina Mladenovic||Lucrezia Stefanini||Jule Niemeier|
Draper upsets Musetti but Harris bows out
Jack Draper progressed to the quarter-finals of the Sofia Open after beating Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets.
The Briton continued his impressive form by beating the world No 27 and tournament’s top seed 7-5 6-2 in their round 16 meeting on Wednesday.
Musetti led the opening set before Draper broke in the eighth game to level the scores at 4-4 and he snatched the first set with another break in the 12th game.
The world No 82 then won the first three games of the second set comfortably, and although Musetti fought back to take the next two games, Draper was able to fend him off with a break in the eighth game to secure his spot in the next round.
He will face Cem Ilkel in the final eight after the world No 259 beat sixth seed Max Purcell 6-3 4-6 6-4.
British qualifier Billy Harris was knocked out of the tournament earlier in the day after being beaten 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.