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Billie Jean King Cup: Canada will face Italy in their maiden final

Canada celebrate

Canada were competing in their second BJK semi-final and their first since 1988

Canada will take on Italy in their maiden Billie Jean King Cup final following victory against the Czech Republic in the deciding doubles match.

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski beat Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 7-5 7-6 (7-3) to win the tie 2-1 in Seville.

Krejcikova had won her singles match in straight sets before Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova lost to Fernandez.

In Saturday’s other semi-final, Italy secured a 2-0 victory against Slovenia.

Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini both won in straight sets as Italy continue their bid for a fifth title and first since 2013.

The Czech Republic have won the tournament 11 times – including six of the past 11 editions – but seven-time Grand Slam champions Krejcikova and Siniakova were stunned in the doubles match as Fernandez won both her singles and doubles matches.

World number 10 Krejcikova comfortably beat Canadian teenager Marina Stakusic 6-2 6-1 but Fernandez, ranked 20th in the world, fended off a comeback from world number eight Vondrousova to win 6-2 2-6 6-3.

For the second time in as many days the Czech Republic had to turn to Krejcikova and Siniakova to rescue the tie, with the duo sealing a deciding doubles win over the USA on Friday to top Group A and clinch a place in the semi-final.

But the Canadian pair kept their composure, completing a hard-fought victory in a second-set tie-break to make history.

‘Dream come true’

Italy last reached the final of the Billie Jean King cup in 2013, beating Russia to win a fourth title and Trevisan got the nation off to a strong start in Saturday’s first semi-final.

The world number 43 beat Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 7-6 6-3 in a gruelling two hour and 20 minute contest which saw the two register 110 unforced errors between them.

“It was my first semi-final here in this competition, and when you are on court and you are not playing just for you but you are playing for an entire country, for all the team, for my teammates, it’s not easy to manage the emotions,” said Trevisan.

“But the heart and head were there, so I’m very happy.”

Later, world number 30 Paolini sealed the tie with a battling 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory against Tamara Zidansek.

Slovenia, the lowest ranked side of the 12 competing teams, had already made history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time.

But, against an Italy team whose five players have all reached a career-high WTA ranking this year,…

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