Raducanu leads Britain into BJK Cup finals as Japan book maiden spot | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Raducanu leads Britain into BJK Cup finals as Japan book maiden spot

AFP |
Apr 13, 2024 11:12 PM IST

Raducanu leads Britain into BJK Cup finals as Japan book maiden spot

Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu led Britain into the Billie Jean King Cup finals on Saturday as Japan reached the championship-deciding round for the first time.

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Raducanu, plagued by back, wrist, stomach and ankle injuries since her 2021 Grand Slam breakthrough in New York, defeated Diane Parry 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 to secure a 3-1 win over France at Le Portal.

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Level at 1-1 overnight, Katie Boulter had won the first point on Saturday by beating Clara Burel 7-5, 6-0.

Raducanu, whose ranking has plunged to 302 in the world, had already defeated French number one Caroline Garcia on Friday.

Japan made the finals for the first time by seeing off Kazakhstan in Tokyo with Nao Hibino sealing the winning point thanks to a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 win over world number 50 Yulia Putintseva.

Four-time major winner and former world number one Naomi Osaka sat out Saturday's action having helped set Japan on their way to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series on Friday with victory over Putintseva.

Osaka was playing in the tournament for the first time since 2020 having missed all of last year to give birth to her first child.

"I started wondering if it was OK for me to win my match there were a lot of fans looking forward to watching Osaka," joked world number 79 Hibino.

"It was mixed emotions but I really wanted to clinch the win."

World number one Iga Swiatek defeated Swiss 18-year-old Celine Naef 6-4, 6-3 to send Poland, 2-0 ahead overnight in Biel, back to the finals.

Swiatek reeled off six straight games to lead 6-4, 4-0, putting her team on the brink of sweeping 2022 champions Switzerland.

Naef, ranked 148, got back on serve at 4-3 but four-time major champion Swiatek raced away with the next two games for victory.

"I'm super happy and proud of everybody," Swiatek said.

"It's been a really fun week so I'm happy that this time I could lead my team to be in the finals."

Seven-time champions Australia surged into the finals with victory over Mexico in Brisbane, handing Samantha Stosur a winning start to her reign as captain.

Taylah Preston, just 18, swept past the experienced Marcela Zacarias, 12 years her senior, 6-1, 6-1 to put the tie beyond Mexico's reach.

"I'm just trying not to cry at the moment, to be honest," said Preston.

"It's a very, very amazing feeling and so grateful for the opportunity from Sam and the rest of the team to be able to play and close out the tie."

In Bratislava, 16-year-old Australian Open junior champion Renata Jamrichova secured Slovakia's win over Slovenia. The teenager beat world 203 Veronika Erjavec 6-2, 6-0.

"It feels great to be here and that I had the trust of our captain to play the match," Jamrichova said.

Later Saturday, Ukraine will attempt to make the finals for the first time when they take a 2-0 lead over Romania into the second day of their qualifier.

The USA lead Belgium 2-0 while Germany have a similar advantage against Brazil.

The eight winning countries this weekend advance to November's 12-team finals in Seville where they join hosts Spain, defending champions Canada, 2023 runners-up Italy and wild-card Czech Republic.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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