Tennis-Canada stun holders France as Billie Jean King Cup finals kick off

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Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Rebecca Marino won the deciding doubles rubber to help stun defending champions France 2-1 on the opening day of the new-look Billie Jean King Cup finals on Monday.

Formerly called the Fed Cup, the event was renamed last year in honour of American 12-time major winner King and restructured into a ‘World Cup of tennis’ format concluding with 12 nations competing over one week for the title.

Canada were the last of 12 teams to make the cut, replacing previous hosts Hungary in the draw due to their status as the highest-ranked side to win a playoff tie in April this year.

At the beginning France’s Fiona Ferro, who reached a career-high rating of 39 earlier this yr, clearly appeared the superior participant in her first assembly in opposition to the 353rd-ranked Francoise Abanda, shortly going up by a set and a break.

But Abanda dug deep to take down Ferro 4-6 6-4 6-4 for her fifth consecutive win within the competitors.

Alize Cornet, the best ranked French singles participant at 59th, managed to stave off the big-hitting Marino 6-4 7-6(5) to degree the tie at 1-1.

But Marino quickly had her revenge as she returned alongside Dabrowski, the world quantity 5 in doubles, to beat Cornet and Clara Burel 6-3 7-6(6) within the deciding rubber.

With the Russian Tennis Federation, whose complete squad is ranked within the prime 50, the third Group A crew, France will face an uphill job to make it to the semi-finals.

The sides play two group-stage ties to find out the winners of the 4 three-team teams, who progress to the semi-finals.

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In Belgium’s Group B tie in opposition to Belarus, Greet Minnen and Elise Mertens received their singles rubbers to seal the tie within the presence of a sizeable variety of Belgian followers, who got here with drums, trumpets and different musical devices on Court One.

Minnen celebrated her debut within the competitors with a commanding present, the 24-year-old handing Belgium the primary level with a 6-2 6-2 win over the 263rd-ranked Iryna Shymanovich.

World quantity 18 Mertens staved off a spirited fightback from Aliaksandra Sasnovich for a 6-2 4-6 6-2 win and sealed the tie in opposition to the Belarusians, who’re lacking world quantity two Aryna Sabalenka and a number of main winner Victoria Azarenka in Prague.

Mertens, winner of three main doubles titles, and Kirsten Flipkens couldn’t make it 3-0 for Belgium within the doubles rubber, nevertheless, happening 6-4 6-3 to Sasnovich and Vera Lapko.

via Reuters

Image via Match Point Canada (Twitter)

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