Russia won on Saturday in Prague the first edition of the Billie Jean King Women’s Tennis Cup (formerly the Fed Cup), by defeating Switzerland in the final with two wins to zero, without having to play the doubles match.
In the first encounter of this final, Daria Kasatkina, 28th in the world, comfortably beat Jill Teichmann (39th place), 6-2 6-4, in one hour and twenty minutes.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Kasatkina said. “I am happy to bring this important point to my team.” The Russian tennis player continued, “The mentality was the key to this duel. I remained very solid from start to finish. I am happy with my level of play.”
The second duel was more controversial between Lyudmila Samsonova (40th in the standings) and Belinda Bencic (17), who took the first set 6-3.
However, the Russian returned the same coin in the second set with the same score and won third place 6-4, in a match that lasted 2 hours and 22 minutes.
Samsonova responded after her victory: “I feel a lot of emotions now, I have the impression that I am paralyzed. It is really unbelievable.”
“It was an incredible fight, more than just tennis,” added the tennis player, who replaced injured world number 12 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the last minute.
– “she is ugly” –
This replacement eventually provoked angry reactions from the Swiss side, which accused Russia of cheating.
Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt said 15 minutes before the match that they had replaced player number 1 with player number 4.
“Either they have offended themselves, which is unfortunate, or they did it on purpose, and that would be cheating,” the coach added.
“I think it’s ugly, frankly,” Bencic said. “I’m very disappointed now.”
Russian captain Igor Andreev specified that Pavlyuchenkova wanted to play.
“But when he got ready, he didn’t feel like he could give 100%. (That’s why) we changed the label, that’s it,” Andreev continued.
Pavlyuchenkova said she had a “knee problem” and called the Swiss accusations “disrespectful”.
“I think in sports you have to learn and accept loss,” the tennis player said.
“This is a historic victory for us,” summed up the captain of the Russian national team.
Andreev concluded: “I am very proud and very happy for the girls, for the way they played. They are amazing, they are champions, they did it because they are a real team and because they are real friends.”
The Billie Jean King Cup replaces the Fed Cup, the previous competition between nations, whose last edition was held in 2019, and was won by France.
And in the semi-finals on Friday, Russia eliminated the United States 2-1 and Switzerland did the same with Australia 2-0.
dlo / rsc / d
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