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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, November 11, 2022


Belinda Bencic burst through seven straight games sparking a 6-0, 7-5 win over Leylah Fernandez sending Switzerland into its second straight BJK Cup semifinal.

Photo credit: Billie Jean King Cup Facebook

Belinda Bencic set a gold standard for Switzerland last summer.

The Olympic gold-medal champion helped Switzerland continue its quest for Billie Jean King Cup silverware.

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Bencic burst through seven straight games sparking a 6-0, 7-5 win over Leylah Fernandez sending Switzerland into its second straight Billie Jean King Cup semifinal with a victory over Canada in Glasgow.

Bencic's win, which followed Viktorija Golubic's three-set win over Bianca Andreescu, gave Switzerland an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three-match tie for the Group A title.

In the dead doubles rubber, Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski defeated Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert, 6-2, 6-1, accounting for Canada's point in Switzerland's 2-1 victory.

"I feel like I’m moving really well, and I’m just trying to grind and fight for every point," Bencic said immediately afterward. "I think then you get into the rhythm a little bit, and of course it feels great to be pushed by my team and just to have the heart on the sleeve."

The Swiss will face either Czech Republic or the United States in tomorrow's semifinals.

The 2021 runner-up, Switzerland is playing for its first Billie Jean King Cup and Bencic, the first woman to win the Olympic gold medal for the Swiss, says commitment to the cause is a primary reason for their success.

"We showed that we are one of the world's best teams, that we are so consistent," Bencic siad. "I mean, so consistent. I mean, two times we are in the semifinal. But still, it's very consistent. And it  shows that we really care, first of all, about Billie Jean King Cup and playing for our country.

"I think we all showed up. We are making the best effort. It's the end of the season. It's a tough schedule. But still we are here and we are fighting. I think it shows that we really enjoy this and we care to play for our country. It's good that we made a good result again, no matter what happens after."

Olympic heroes led the Swiss over a talented Canadian squad.

Last August, Bencic and partner Viktorija Golubic won the doubles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Today, Golubic converted four of five break points stopping 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

"I have had a lot of emotions like during the match, but now I'm just like so super happy that I could bring that point to Switzerland," Golubic said. "I feel really relieved, because, you know, in the end it was kind of a tricky match. It was really close at the end after I have had this lead. So I was actually like really relieved I could do the 6-4."

Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt opted to start Golubic over left-hander Jil Teichmann and Golubic confirmed her coach's confidence with a mature performance.

Whipping her wondrous one-handed backhand down the line at times, Golubic opened leads of 4-0 and 5-1 in the final set before Andreescu battled back to 4-5. Golubic served out the win in two hours, eight minute, staking Switzerland to a 1-0 lead.

Tennis Express

Andreescu credited the Swiss with elevating her energy level at the start of the first and last sets.

"I think I fought well. She played amazing tennis," Andreescu said. "In the first set I felt like I was the more aggressive person, but she was also missing. And then in the second and third I thought I was doing the same thing.

"Then she just, you know, came out on fire. I felt like being down 5-1 kind of made me feel like I need to do more, but then when I was doing more, it also wasn't working. So like today was just like super up-and-down, but I fought as much as I could."

"I felt like I definitely could have played better in certain moments, maybe be more smart with my tactics," Andreescu said. "But it is what it is. Obviously disappointing."


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