Holders France stunned by Canada at Billie Jean King Cup | Tennis News – Times of India


PRAGUE: Champions France stumbled on the first hurdle as they lost to Canada in their opening tie of the maiden Billie Jean King Cup final tournament in Prague on Monday.
The 2019 Fed Cup champions and the top seeds of its rebranded version have to beat Russia on Wednesday to keep their hopes of making the play-offs alive.
Fiona Ferro lost the opening rubber to 353rd-ranked Canadian Francoise Abanda 6-4, 4-6, 4-6.
“I think I started the match pretty well and I had many opportunities especially in the second set,” Ferro said.
“I was leading 2-0 in the second set and I couldn’t take advantage of it so of course it’s frustrating.”
Alize Cornet then levelled the score by edging Rebecca Marino 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
“For sure playing for my country makes it very special and you dig even deeper to try to play your best tennis,” said Cornet.
“It was not my best tennis today but that’s the best I could do today with all my heart and I think it was a pretty good game overall.”
But Cornet failed to convince as she teamed up with Clara Burel for the decisive doubles rubber and lost 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to Gabriela Dabrowski and Marino.
Canada were a late addition to the tournament, replacing Hungary after Budapest passed on the hosting rights to Prague.
“To beat the number one is obviously incredible and I think we should be really proud of ourselves,” Marino beamed after the game.
“As a team we came together and fought with a lot of heart.”
In the other afternoon tie at the rebranded Fed Cup tournament, Belgium won both singles to beat Belarus 2-1 in Group B.
World number 70 Greet Minnen first eased past 263rd-ranked Irina Shymanovich of Belarus 6-2, 6-2 in the opening rubber.
“I’m really happy, it was my first time playing for Belgium and I’m really happy that I could give our country the first win of the day,” said Minnen.
Elise Mertens added a second point when she overpowered Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in more than two hours.
Sasnovich and Vera Lapko then won a consolation point for Belarus as they beat Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-3.
“We started really strong, Greet was doing very well and that made it easier for me,” said Mertens.
“Today we’re happy that we won both singles so we eventually took the win.”





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