Martina Hingis is excited and applauds as a supporter of the team behind Captain Heinz Guntardt on the bench in Prague. Patti Schneider had a fever and was hailed as a co-commentator on the SRF mic. You are likely to have emotional déjà vu. In 1998, she was the first Swiss women to reach the final of the nation’s most prestigious competition, then dubbed the Federation Cup. To this day, they are not alone.
When Jill Tishman (WTA 39) sweeps her Australian opponent Storm Sanders (WTA 131) like a storm – pun allowed – 6:0, 6:3, she lays the mat for Belinda Bencic’s final match. And the captain, who has won all her games since Tuesday, including two singles matches against the top ten players, doesn’t take long to ask. Number 17 in the world against Ajla Tomljanovic (WTA 43) doing her duty with the same confidence: 6:3, 6:2!
23 years after the last time Belinda Bencic, Jil Teichmann, Viktorija Golubic and Stefanie Vögele reached the final of the Billie Jean King Cup – a new name and a new but no less famous way. “We couldn’t count on that,” Pensik says excitedly. “We had the toughest group,” she asserts and explains that it was not easy to come back strong after the difficult task against the Czech Republic the day before.
Gunthart believes in victory over Russia
But it was again an outstanding performance by this first team, which, according to its proud captain Gonthardt, who has been working towards that goal for years, is “the best team in the world”. In order for this to really be so, victory over Russia must be achieved on Saturday (from four o’clock in the evening). This would make the Swiss women’s team premiere and write history. Just like Federer’s male colleagues, Wawrinka and co did so in 2014 at Lille.
But be careful: the Russian opponents who defeated the United States in the semi-finals are in good shape. World number 12 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova leads the group of five players – all other players are ranked in the top 40. Gunthardt was asked if Switzerland would run it. And he is convinced: “Of course, we can beat them.” This game is about faith. “And we have to believe in it now, there is no reason to stop now.”
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