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Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2023: Leylah Fernandez sends Canada through to semi-finals

Leylah Fernandez celebrates victory at the BJK Finals

Leylah Fernandez edged a three-hour match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in Canada’s opening match

Leylah Fernandez sealed Canada’s place in the Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1988, as Italy also reached the last four in Seville.

Fernandez, 21, beat Poland’s Magda Linette 6-2 6-3 after Marina Stakusic overcame Magdalena Frech 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Italy are also through to Saturday’s semi-finals – for the first time since 2014 – after beating Germany 3-0.

The USA began their campaign by beating defending champions Switzerland, while Australia edged Kazakhstan.

Fernandez prevailed in a three-hour match against Sara Sorribes Tormo, which she described as a “bullfight”, to give Canada victory over Spain on Wednesday.

But, a day later, the world number 20 was a comfortable winner over Linette and Fernandez said she was “proud and ecstatic” that her nation had ended a 35-year wait for a semi-final spot.

Team-mates Gabriela Dabrowski and Eugenie Bouchard completed a 3-0 win over Poland – who are without world number one Iga Swiatek – with a 6-2 6-3 win against Weronika Falkowska and Katarzyna Kawa.

Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini confirmed Italy’s progress from Group D with singles wins, before Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto edged a match tie-break against Friedsam and Laura Sigemund in the doubles – winning 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 11-9.

Paolini recorded her second singles win of the tournament by beating Friedsam 6-3 6-2 after Trevisan – also backing up her win in the opening 2-1 victory against France – defeated Eva Lys 7-6 6-1.

Record 18-time winners the USA, who would face Group C winners Canada should they top Group A, will aim for a last-four place against the Czech Republic on Friday after overcoming winless Switzerland.

Sofia Kenin, playing her first Billie Jean King Cup tie since 2020, clinched victory by beating Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-5 after Danielle Collins won 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 against Celine Naef.

Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend ensured a clean sweep for the USA, winning 6-1 7-6 (7-3) against Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert, as Switzerland’s title defence ended with back-to-back 3-0 losses.

In Group B, Australiabeat Kazakhstan 2-1 after Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez won a third set match tie-break in their decisive doubles match against Anna Danilina and Yulia Putintseva, prevailing 6-1 4-6 (10-5).

Hunter had put Australia ahead by winning her singles match against Danilina 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 but Putintseva beat Kimberly…

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