It was a historic day for Slovenia at the Billie Jean King Cup as they reached their first ever semi-final at the Estadio de la Cartuja, Seville, Spain, on Friday, 10 November 2023.
Slovenia qualified from Group B having the best sets win-loss record among the three teams in spite of losing their match-up with Kazakhstan 2-1 yesterday, and will face Italy for a spot in the final from 11am (SA time).
Kaja Juvan got proceedings off with a solid 6-0; 6-1 win over Anna Danilina. Juvan is ranked a whopping 700 places higher than her opponent but she told billiejeanking.com that she knew underestimating Danilina would be a mistake.
“I was pretty stressed, because I already played her and I felt like I’m capable of winning, but you never know in these sorts of competitions.”
“You shouldn’t underestimate anybody anywhere. So I tried to go to the match 100% per cent trying to fight for every point, and I think since the moment that it started to go my way, I really tried not to give her any games that were unnecessary to give.”
Tamara Zidansek sealed Slovenia’s progression to the semis after Yulia Putintseva retired, with each players winning a set each.
Danilina and Zhibek Kulambayeva got a point for Kazakhstan in their doubles win over Veronika Erjavec and Ela Milic 2-6 6-4 (10-7).
The Czech Republic vs the USA
The Czech Republic was next to follow Slovenia into the last four, with their 2-1 win over the USA.
The US earned the first point when Danielle Collins dispatched Katerina Siniakova 6-3; 6-3, but thereafter it was one-way traffic from the Czech Republic, who are now one of the favourites to take the title.
Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova came out on top in their doubles match against US duo of Collins and Taylor Townsend, winning 6-3; 7-5, and Marketa Vondrousova secured a commanding 6-1; 6-1 victory over Sofia Kenin.
“It’s tough to be unbeatable because it’s impossible, but I’m proud of how we play and how long we are playing, because it’s not easy,” said Siniakova on the billiejeanking.com site.
“Everyone wants to beat us, and they are coming and trying to find things. I wouldn’t say our partnership is natural. You just need to work hard and we both like practicing and trying to improve ourselves, which is a big part.
“I was very happy when we sealed the winning point today. It was a really good match and I was really excited and happy that we finished it and with the way we played.”
Tournament Hosts Finish With a Win over Poland, France End With Win over Germany
Hosts Spain managed to finish the tournament on a high note after they beat Poland 2-1.
Rebeka Masarova started of with a win for the home team when she came back from a set down to beat Katarzyna Kawa 2-6; 6-3; 6-2, and Sara Sorribes Tormo took 2 hours and 29 minutes to get past Magda Linette 7-6(5); 6-3.
Debutants Cristina Bucsa and Marina Bassols Ribera weren’t able to get a point for Spain as they lost their doubles tie 6-0; 6-7 (10-3) to Martyna Kubka and Kawa.
Meanwhile, France finished group D in second place with a 3-0 win over Germany. Clara Burel beat Jule Niemeier 6-4; 6-3.
Germany’s Tatjana Maria retired injured from her game, which saw Varvara Gracheva take the win.
Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic’s doubles match went to a tie break but they sealed the 5-7; 6-3 (10-1) victory over Niemeier and Laura Siegemund.
Photo caption: Kaja Juvan got proceedings off with a solid 6-0; 6-1 win over Anna Danilina to kickstart a historic day for Slovenia as they reached their first ever semi-final at the Billie Jean King Cup, at the Estadio de la Cartuja, Seville, Spain, on Friday, 10 November 2023. Photo: BJK Cup on Instagram