Canada claimed their first Billie Jean King Cup title as Leylah Fernandez sealed a 2-0 win over Italy in Seville.
Fernandez, 21, beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2 6-3 to settle the final after teenager Marina Stakusic, ranked 258th, defeated top-50 player Martina Trevisan 7-5 6-3.
The 18-year-old Stakusic said it had been “the best week” of her life following her career-best win.
Victory earned Canada a record $2.4m (£2.1m) in prize money, one year after the nation won its first Davis Cup.
Former US Open runner-up Fernandez has been in scintillating form in Spain this week in the women’s team event and played a key role in the semi-final win over 11-time champions the Czech Republic.
Fernandez, ranked 20th in the world, beat Wimbledon champion and world number eight Marketa Vondrousova in her singles match on Saturday before partnering Gabriela Dabrowski to doubles victory.
In Sunday’s title decider, Fernandez, this time marginal favourite against world number 30 Paolini, once again delivered to clinch a historic win for her country in the best-of-three contest against four-time winners Italy.
Fernandez took the first set by winning four games in a row after Paolini had broken back for 2-2 and she maintained that momentum with a break in the third game of set two.
Fernandez, who lost to Britain’s Emma Raducanu in the 2021 US Open final, had her serve broken to 15 when serving for the title at 5-2.
But she produced an immediate response to that setback, taking her first match point in the following game, and she has now won 16 of the 19 BJK Cup matches she has contested for the newly crowned world champions.
“It feels amazing. I am extremely proud that I was able to represent Canada on the biggest stage,” said Fernandez, who threw her racquet in the air after hitting the final winner.
“To do it in front of Billie Jean means the world to me, to us, and hopefully we can keep going and celebrate tonight.”
That title-winning victory came after Stakusic had stunned the 43rd-ranked Trevisan.
Stakusic, who has not played a single WTA main-draw match in 2023, eventually completed victory despite failing to take her first four match points as Trevisan served at 2-5.
But Stakusic did not panic then – just as she refused to do so after losing four successive games when Trevisan battled back to lead from 4-1 down in the opening set.
“I’m so happy and honoured that I could play this week,…