Spain reach Finals after dominant display in 's-Hertogenbosch

15/04/2022 17:00

Sara Sorribes Tormo defeated Arantxa Rus to ensure Spain's passage to the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals without losing a set in their Qualifier tie against Netherlands

By Tom Moran
Spain reach Finals after dominant display in 's-Hertogenbosch

Sara Sorribes Tormo defeated Arantxa Rus to ensure Spain's passage to the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals without losing a set in their Qualifier tie against Netherlands.

The world No. 49 - and Spain's No. 1 for this tie in the absence of Paula Badosa and Garbine Muguruza - defeated Rus 6-0 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes at Maaspoort Sports & Events in 's-Hertogenbosch, establishing an unassailable 3-0 lead for the away team. Defeat for Netherlands means that they must now win a Play-off tie in November to return to the Qualifiers in 2023.

By contrast, Spain can now turn their attention to mounting a title challenge in November - and although they were not at full strength this weekend, Sorribes Tormo provided a compelling argument that she should be one of captain Anabel Medina Garrigues' first-choice picks this weekend in any case.

"It doesn't matter who is in the team," Medina Garrigues said afterwards. "In this case, [Spain are in the Finals] because of these players that always are there for the country. I'm really happy for them because they did a great, great job. Two days, yesterday and today, with great matches from both players.”

Playing with confidence after a comfortable win against Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove on Friday, Sorribes Tormo raced to a 3-0 lead, allowing Rus just two points in the opening three games. And although Rus began to settle into a rhythm shortly thereafter, she would not get on the scoreboard until early in the second set.

The opening exchanges of the second went with serve, before Sorribes Tormo broke in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. This time, but Rus pegged her back immediately, showing firm resolve to break back and hold again to level at 4-4.

But Sorribes Tormo, whose defensive work kept ensuring that Rus would always have to play one more shot, made the decisive breakthrough with the Dutchwoman serving to stay in the match at 4-5 down - three straight points won from 30-0 down set up a match point chance, which she took when Rus fired an inside-out forehand wide.

Cue the celebrations from the Spanish team, who had collectively looked stronger than their Dutch counterparts since the first ball was hit on Friday.

"I’m feeling very happy. I think my smile says it all," Sorribes Tormo said, beaming. "I think I’ve played really well these two last days. Maybe today I did less unforced errors, but I’m pleased with my performance at this tie.

"The Billie Jean King Cup brings the best out of me. Till now, I have always performed well when representing Spain. I hope I can carry on like this. I’m happy with the way I started my clay season. I’m leaving [this tie] with some nice sensations and confidence."

Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova completed a perfect weekend for Spain in the doubles match, defeating Arianne Hartono and Demi Schuurs in 4-6 7-6(7) [10-7] to complete a 4-0 win for the visitors.

Dutch captain Elise Tamaela, who was leading the team for the first time this weekend, paid tribute to Spain's performance.

"The Spanish team played very well, they are tough competitors," she said. "They did better than my girls. We feel sad, but we need to get ready for the Play-offs in November."

Netherlands must win their Play-off clash in November to get back to this stage next season. Spain, however, will have the chance to become Billie Jean King Cup champions for the first time since 1998 when they compete at the Finals for the second straight year.