Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2022: Meet Great Britain’s opponents
• 3 MINUTE READ
As the Billie Jean King Cup Finals at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow continue to creep ever closer, nations across the world have been announcing their squads to compete for the coveted trophy.
Great Britain have been drawn against Spain and Kazakhstan in Group C – both boasting very different teams and styles. We take a look at the Brits opponents in Glasgow, with everything you need to know about both squads.
Meet the team:
- Paula Badosa (Singles: No.4)
- Nuria Parrizas Diaz (Singles: No.75)
- Cristina Bucsa (Singles: No.110 / Doubles: No.149)
- Aliona Bolsova (Singles: No.163 / Doubles: No.75)
- Rebeka Masarova (Singles: No.180 / Doubles: No.262)
- Captain: Anabel Medina Garrigues
History: Spain come into the Billie Jean King Cup Finals as the third seeds – behind only Australia and France – and have been a constant at the top of the game since joining in 1972. The Spaniards have won five titles in their history, all during a dominant period in the 90s where they lifted five trophies in eight years (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998).
2021 performance: The Spanish side started the year with a strong win against Japan in the qualifying rounds. Sara Sorribes Tormo put in a dominant display to defeat three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka 6-0, 6-3 to start the tie, as Spain marched to a 3-1 win.
Fast-forward to the Finals later in the year and Spain again started well with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in the first match of Group C. However, they didn’t make it out of the group – losing to the USA 2-1 in what would be their final tie.
Journey to the Finals: In their 50th year competing in the tournament, Spain cruised through their Finals qualifier against the Netherlands, 4-0 away in s’Hertogenbosch. Nurria Parrizas-Diaz and Sorribes Tormo led the way by winning three singles rubbers without dropping a set, before Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova edged a doubles match tie-break to complete the clean sweep.
Players to watch: Spanish No.1 Paula Badosa has been at the top of the game for the last two years having broken into the top 10 in 2021 and then reaching a career-high world No.2 in April 2022. A three-time WTA Tour title champion – in Indian Wells, Belgrade and Sydney – Badosa has reached the latter stages of several big events in the last 12 months, including Miami, Stuttgart and San Jose.
With Spain missing Sorribes Tormo this year, Parrizas-Diaz will step up to the plate as their No.2. After a semi-final performance in Monterrey, the Spaniard has also reached quarter-finals in Melbourne, Rabat, Palermo and Granby. Cristina Bucsa could be one to watch in the doubles in Glasgow. The 24-year-old recently finished runner-up in her first WTA doubles final in Portoroz and also reached the semi-final in Stuttgart earlier in 2022.
Meet the team:
- Elena Rybakina (Singles No.26)
- Yulia Putintseva (Singles No.47)
- Anna Danilina (Doubles No.21)
- Zhibek Kulambayeva (Doubles No.189)
- Captain: Yaroslava Shvedova
History: Kazakhstan are a relatively new nation to the Billie Jean King Cup, having joined back in 1995. Since then, they have continued to grow and improve – achieving their best results in 2013 and 2017, where they reached the World Group II play-offs. This will be the first time that Kazakhstan have competed in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
2021 performance: Kazakhstan lost their qualifier against Belgium 3-1 last year, thanks to an impressive display from Elise Mertens and Kristen Flipkens. Fighting to keep their place in the qualifying rounds for 2022, Kazakhstan edged a close contest against Argentina 3-2, in a tie that came down to the deciding doubles rubber. Player-Captain Yaroslava Shvedova helped secure the win for her country alongside Anna Danilina with a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Maria Loudres Carle and Nadia Podoroska.
Journey to the Finals: In April earlier this year, Kazakhstan sealed their place in the 2022 Finals with a 3-1 win against Germany at the National Tennis Centre in Nur-Sultan. Elena Rybakina picked up victories against both Angelique Kerber and Laura Siegemund, while Yulia Putintseva came from behind to defeat Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Players to watch: Rybakina will be well known to British tennis fans, after the 23-year-old won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon in July – overthrowing a one set deficit to beat world No.2 Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Kazakhstan’s biggest star hasn’t shown any signs of letting up since – she reached the quarter-finals at the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati and has since progressed to the semi-finals in Ostrava as well as finishing runner-up in Portoroz.
Danilina is Kazakhstan’s highest ranked player in the squad at world No.21 in the WTA doubles rankings. The 27-year-old has won seven titles in total this year – including two WTA crowns in Sydney and in Warsaw – and finished runner-up at the Australian Open with Brazlian, Beatriz Haddad Maia.
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