Finals
Seville, Spain
Flag for Spain Spain
vs
Flag for Poland Poland
13 November 2024
Seville, Spain
Flag for Japan Japan
vs
Flag for Romania Romania
14 November 2024
Seville, Spain
Flag for Slovakia Slovakia
vs
Flag for USA USA
14 November 2024
Seville, Spain
Flag for Germany Germany
vs
Flag for Great Britain Great Britain
15 November 2024
Africa III
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for South Africa South Africa
vs
Flag for Kenya Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Mauritius Mauritius
vs
Flag for Uganda Uganda
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
vs
Flag for Burundi Burundi
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Tunisia Tunisia
vs
Flag for Madagascar Madagascar
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for South Africa South Africa
3 : 0
Flag for Namibia Namibia
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
2 : 1
Flag for Madagascar Madagascar
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Kenya Kenya
3 : 0
Flag for Mauritius Mauritius
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Tunisia Tunisia
1 : 2
Flag for Burundi Burundi
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Ghana Ghana
1 : 2
Flag for Botswana Botswana
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Nigeria Nigeria
3 : 0
Flag for Uganda Uganda
10 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for South Africa South Africa
3 : 0
Flag for Madagascar Madagascar
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
3 : 0
Flag for Namibia Namibia
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Mauritius Mauritius
0 : 3
Flag for Burundi Burundi
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Tunisia Tunisia
1 : 2
Flag for Kenya Kenya
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Botswana Botswana
3 : 0
Flag for Uganda Uganda
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Nigeria Nigeria
3 : 0
Flag for Ghana Ghana
11 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Madagascar Madagascar
3 : 0
Flag for Namibia Namibia
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for South Africa South Africa
2 : 1
Flag for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Kenya Kenya
2 : 1
Flag for Burundi Burundi
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Tunisia Tunisia
3 : 0
Flag for Mauritius Mauritius
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Ghana Ghana
3 : 0
Flag for Uganda Uganda
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Nigeria Nigeria
2 : 1
Flag for Botswana Botswana
12 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Nigeria Nigeria
2 : 1
Flag for Kenya Kenya
13 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Namibia Namibia
2 : 1
Flag for Uganda Uganda
13 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Botswana Botswana
2 : 1
Flag for Burundi Burundi
13 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Completed
Flag for Ghana Ghana
0 : 3
Flag for Madagascar Madagascar
13 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for South Africa South Africa
vs
Flag for Nigeria Nigeria
14 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Mauritius Mauritius
vs
Flag for Namibia Namibia
14 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
vs
Flag for Botswana Botswana
14 June 2024
Nairobi, Kenya Upcoming
Flag for Tunisia Tunisia
vs
Flag for Ghana Ghana
14 June 2024
Africa IV
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Cameroon Cameroon
3 : 0
Flag for Lesotho Lesotho
10 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Rwanda Rwanda
1 : 2
Flag for Togo Togo
10 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Algeria Algeria
3 : 0
Flag for Angola Angola
10 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Tanzania Tanzania
3 : 0
Flag for Mozambique Mozambique
10 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Ethiopia Ethiopia
0 : 3
Flag for Togo Togo
11 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Rwanda Rwanda
3 : 0
Flag for Lesotho Lesotho
11 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Algeria Algeria
3 : 0
Flag for Mozambique Mozambique
11 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo, Dem. Rep.
3 : 0
Flag for Angola Angola
11 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Cameroon Cameroon
1 : 2
Flag for Togo Togo
12 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Ethiopia Ethiopia
0 : 3
Flag for Rwanda Rwanda
12 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Angola Angola
0 : 3
Flag for Mozambique Mozambique
12 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Tanzania Tanzania
3 : 0
Flag for Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo, Dem. Rep.
12 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Cameroon Cameroon
2 : 1
Flag for Ethiopia Ethiopia
13 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Lesotho Lesotho
0 : 3
Flag for Togo Togo
13 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo, Dem. Rep.
1 : 2
Flag for Mozambique Mozambique
13 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Completed
Flag for Tanzania Tanzania
0 : 3
Flag for Algeria Algeria
13 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Upcoming
Flag for Cameroon Cameroon
vs
Flag for Rwanda Rwanda
14 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Upcoming
Flag for Ethiopia Ethiopia
vs
Flag for Lesotho Lesotho
14 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Upcoming
Flag for Algeria Algeria
vs
Flag for Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo, Dem. Rep.
14 June 2024
Kigali, Rwanda Upcoming
Flag for Tanzania Tanzania
vs
Flag for Angola Angola
14 June 2024

Locker room carnage and fancy dress dares: RTF eliminate Canada from Finals

01/11/2021 17:00

Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) lived up to billing by blitzing Canada in their opening Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals clash

By Ross McLean
Locker room carnage and fancy dress dares: RTF eliminate Canada from Finals

Among the favourites to lift silverware in Prague, Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) lived up to billing by blitzing Canada in their opening showdown to ensure their Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals title charge began in style.

The tone was set by Daria Kasatkina, who laid down an early maker by defeating Canada’s Carol Zhao in straight sets, before Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova sealed victory for her side with a commanding victory over Rebecca Marino.

RTF are now in pole position and the only unbeaten team remaining in Group A. Success against France tomorrow will ensure they reach the semi-finals and edge closer to a fifth tournament triumph – and first since 2008.

Having succumbed to defeat in the opening two singles tussles, the priority for Canada suddenly became avoiding a 3-0 loss. As it was, Gabriela Dabrowski and Marino succumbed to defeat against Liudmila Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova, meaning Canada are eliminated and the first team to crash out of the Finals.

In the winners’ corner, Kasatkina and Pavlyuchenkova both attended RTF’s pre-tournament press conference in wigs to celebrate Halloween, which followed an evening of outrageous costumes the night before. The duo have hinted at further fancy dress should RTF continue to impress.

“We have plenty of ideas so maybe if we go through the tournament, we will do something, but it will be a surprise,” said Kasatkina. “We will see. It always depends on the mood but me and Anastasia are kind of crazy, so maybe we will do something.”

Pavlyuchenkova, meanwhile, has a dare for RTF captain Igor Andreev.

“My idea was that if we win the group and go to the semi-finals then I want our captain to wear one of our wigs form Halloween,” she said. “That was my idea, although I don’t think he would agree. But that’s the challenge.”

Canada’s woes were a far cry from the start of the day, with them knowing a victory would see them qualify for the semi-finals and equal their best-ever Billie Jean King Cup performance. Their only other appearance in the last-four came in 1988 against Czechoslovakia.

It was always going to be a difficult assignment, however, given all five RTF players are ranked within the world’s top 40, and their chances of victory were dealt a sizeable blow when Francoise Abanda was ruled out with a toe injury.

Montreal-born Abanda was one of Canada’s heroines as they shocked 2019 champions France in a pulsating clash yesterday, with the 24-year-old replaced by Zhao, who topped the podium at two ITF World Tennis Tour events in 2017.

World No. 28 Kasatkina stands 300 places higher than her rival in the world rankings, although there was little sense of Zhao being overawed as she recovered from an early break of serve to strike back immediately.  

Zhao had lost the only other singles match she contested in the competition, falling to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the 2018 World Group II first round, but kept pace with her opponent until a further break enabled Kasatkina to close out the set 6-3.

Kasatkina, who was a member of the Russian team which won the 2013 Junior Billie Jean King Cup title, was now dominant and despite a spirited showing by Zhao, eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory.

“Having the responsibility to win the first match for your nation, and then doing so, is great,” added Kasatkina. “Before you go on court, you are super nervous because it is the first match for the team and you do not know what to expect.

“I was ready to be nervous, which happened, but, in the end, I was able to fight with my nerves and I was emotionally better, especially in the second set. The most important thing is to get the point for the team.”

RTF were bidding to extend a five-tie Billie Jean King Cup winning streak and following Kasatkina’s victory, they were within touching distance of doing so.

All eyes now turned to Pavlyuchenkova, a mixed doubles gold medallist at Tokyo 2020, as she faced Marino, who teamed up to great effect with Dabrowski to prevail from the pivotal doubles clash against France.

There was very little between the pair until Pavlyuchenkova stole a march in the opening set, which she claimed 6-4, although Marino had no intention of going quietly and duly hit back in the second.

Ranked 136 places lower in the world rankings than her opponent, Marino kept her composure and hauled herself level in the match, converting the first of three sets in clinical fashion.

However, Marino’s momentum was stifled by a break of serve in the opening game of the decisive set, and it was an advantage which Pavlyuchenkova was never likely to relinquish as she accelerated to a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win.

“Any win, especially here in this competition, is very important and when you’re playing in the team, the only goal is to win matches and bring points to the team,” added Pavlyuchenkova.

“The key to victory was probably me going to the locker room, destroying the locker room and leaving all the negative emotions out there in that locker room.

“I started to be upset in the middle of the second set because I thought I had some opportunities on her return, but I wasn’t converting and breaking her. That was disappointing for me.

“But I went back on the court and was free with my mind. I just started to play freely and fight for every point.”

RTF announced a change of roster for the doubles, with Liudmila Samsonova replacing Ekaterina Alexandrova and teaming up with Veronika Kudermetova.

The emphasis was on Canada given their need to avoid a 3-0 defeat, although it was far from an ideal start as Samsonova and Kudermetova claimed the first set, while RTF proved themselves a formidable doubles outfit with a 6-3 6-1 triumph.

Canada were competing at the Finals as the highest-ranked losing nation from the 2021 Play-offs, replacing former host nation Hungary, and while their journey is now at an end, the camp is anything but despondent. 

“We weren’t supposed to be here in the first place, so just being here was a plus and then beating defending champions France was a tremendous performance,” said interim captain Sylvain Bruneau.

“But that is sport. One day everything is great, then the next day it is totally different. I am used to this. Yesterday was a really good day and we were really happy and positive. Today was not as good but my players deserve a lot of credit.”

The last word, however, should perhaps belong to Marino. She said: “The whole experience has been really incredible. Canada was a late entry to begin with, so be here as a team has been something really special.

“We may have lost, but we belong with the best and we play with a lot of fight and fire and should be really proud of ourselves.”