GLASGOW: It’s a historic win for Switzerland as they clinched their maiden Billie Jean King Cup crown, triumphing in the premier women’s team event in professional tennis.
Jil Teichmann and reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic combined for singles victories to give Switzerland an unconquerable 2-0 lead over Australia, earning the coveted championship in Glasgow, Scotland.
In the first match of the day, Teichmann overpowered the breakthrough player Storm Sanders 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Bencic then followed Teichmann’s lead with a swift 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Ajla Tomljanovic to clinch the trophy.
Australia the seven-time champion were seeking their first title since 1974.
“We were finalists last year and we were so heartbroken. But in the locker room [Teichmann] came to me and said ‘Next year, we’re going to do it, we’re going to take it.’ And we did, I’m so proud,” WTA quoted Bencic as saying.
Sanders’ form extended into Sunday’s clash, where her brilliant volleys and fighting spirit brought her back from a set and a breakdown to make her clash with Teichmann into a strong third set.
However, Teichmann’s gritted play through an 11-minute game to break for 3-2 in the decider set, and she completed with more points aggressively as the set advanced. A stunning ace gave Teichmann a 5-3 lead, and she clinched the tough match by firing a forehand winner down the line to break for the triumph after two hours and 18 minutes long battle.
“It was a great battle. Storm is playing very good the whole week, I was expecting a big fight. So here I was, getting the fight, and I’m super happy I got the point,” Teichmann said.
In a match between the top-ranked players from each country, Bencic came on strong to defeat Tomljanovic in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bencic won by converting half of her 12 breakpoints.
After earning her fifth break point in a 10-minute game, Bencic broke for a 5-2 lead. She then won the first set with a volley from her trademark backhand wing. After taking an early lead in the second set thanks to a brilliant forehand return, Bencic never looked back as she ended the week in Glasgow.
“We didn’t win this just today; it was this week, it was actually over years, we tried to get better and better at it. You saw how many close points there were; who knows why we win some and lose some. A lot of it has to do with heart, and this team has a lot of heart,” said team captain Heinz Gunthardt.
Meanwhile, the draw for next year’s Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers took place on Sunday. They will be held April 14-15, 2023.