Tennis-Australia to face Switzerland in Billie Jean King Cup semis – Metro US

Tennis-Australia to face Switzerland in Billie Jean King Cup semis

Billie Jean King Cup – Finals
Billie Jean King Cup – Finals

PRAGUE (Reuters) -Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic won their singles rubbers to help Australia beat Belarus on Thursday and set up a semi-final against Switzerland at the Billie Jean King Cup finals.

Australia, chasing an eighth title in the women’s team competition which was previously called the Fed Cup, had defeated Belgium in their opening tie and their unassailable 2-0 lead against Belarus ensured they will top Group B.

They will next face Switzerland who defeated hosts the Czech Republic 2-1 in their final Group D tie.

Under the tournament’s new format, 12 teams have been split into four groups of round-robin play and the group winners progress to Friday’s semi-finals, with the final on Saturday.

The Russian Tennis Federation will face 18-times winners the United States in the first semi-final in the morning and Australia meet the Swiss in the evening session.

The 27-year-old Sanders, who made her tournament debut this week, gave Australia the ideal start with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win in her first clash with an error-prone Yuliya Hatouka, ranked 192nd in the world.

“For me to come out and deliver under pressure, it’s a great feeling,” said Sanders, who won her singles but lost the doubles against Belgium.

“I played a really solid match. I was a little bit tired from my two matches on Tuesday, but I came out and just fought really hard.”

Aliaksandra Sasnovich jumped to a 4-0 lead against Tomljanovic before the 43rd-ranked Australian, who missed the tie against Belgium through illness, found her form to win 4-6 6-2 6-3.

The Czechs went 1-0 up against Switzerland when Marketa Vondrousova eased to victory over Viktorija Golubic 6-4 6-2, but Belinda Bencic levelled with a surprise 7-6 6-4 win over world number three Barbora Krejcikova.

Bencic went straight into the doubles decider with partner Jil Teichmann and the pair claimed a 6-3 6-2 win over Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Nick Said in Cape Town; editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)