Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2023: Switzerland lose to Czech Republic, Slovenia beat Australia
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Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2023: Switzerland lose to Czech Republic, Slovenia beat Australia

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Australian pair Kimberly Birrell and Storm Hunter celebrate their doubles win against Slovenia at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup
World doubles number one Storm Hunter (right) played in the WTA Finals semi-finals in Mexico on Sunday

Australia’s Storm Hunter won her doubles match at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals – despite only landing in Seville a few hours before the match and losing her luggage.

However, her win alongside Kimberly Birrell could not stop the 2022 runners-up losing to Slovenia.

“It was obviously a quick turnaround, but for me, representing my country is the greatest honour,” Hunter said.

Later on the opening day, holders Switzerland lost to the Czech Republic.

Hunter, who is the world’s top-ranked doubles player, was among the stars who had to travel from the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico to the BJK Cup Finals, which started on Tuesday in Spanish city Seville.

Hunter played alongside Belgium’s Elise Mertens in Cancun on Sunday, when the pair lost in the semi-finals.

“It’s been a busy 24 hours. As soon as I finished in Cancun, I tried to get here as soon I could. Ended up landing at 8-8:30am this morning,” Hunter said.

“Bags didn’t arrive, so that made it a bit tricky, but I had some racquets on me and I was prepared to play. I had my outfit, my shoes, and mentally I was ready to go if our team needed that.”

In the 12-nation women’s team event formerly known as the Fed Cup, Slovenia secured victory on their finals debut after Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek won their singles matches.

Juvan won 6-4 6-1 against Ajla Tomljanovic, who has spent most of the season sidelined following knee surgery, before Zidansek beat Daria Saville 6-1 6-4.

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Hunter and Birrell won 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 10-5 against Veronika Erjavec and Ela Milic for what could prove to be an important match win in the round-robin stage.

Later on Tuesday, Czech debutants Marie Bouzkova and Linda Noskova won their singles matches to clinch victory against the Swiss.

It gave the Czechs an unassailable lead in the best-of-three tie, with doubles pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova securing a clean sweep.

Switzerland were without Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who announced her pregnancy last week, as Celine Naef was beaten 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-4 by fellow 18-year-old Noskova and Viktorija Golubic lost 6-4 6-4 to Bouzkova.

The Czechs, who won the most recent of their 11 titles in 2018, rested Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova after she played in the WTA Finals last week.

But Krejcikova and Siniakova, who also took part in the season-ending event, showed no ill effects of the long journey and short turnaround as they won 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 against Golubic and Jil Teichmann.

SOURCE : www.bbc.co.uk

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