Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2022: Six highlights from this year’s Finals
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As the doors close on the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup, we share six memorable highlights from this year's Finals.
1) Great Britain made it to their first semi-final since 1981.
Perhaps one of the most memorable stories to arise from this year’s Billie Jean King Cup, is Great Britain’s run to their first semi-final since 1981. After suffering a 2-1 defeat against Kazakhstan on their opening day of the finals, Britain entered their second-round tie against Spain on Thursday night with only two options: win all three rubbers or exit the Billie Jean King Cup.
On an evening where many people deemed this an impossible task for the Brits, they soaked up the pressure and rose to the occasion to make it a night to remember in the Women’s British tennis history books. Great Britain, led by Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and doubles pair Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls overcame Spain in a triumphant 3-0 win that set up a semi-final clash with first seeds Australia.
2) Switzerland claim their first Billie Jean King Cup title
After Switzerland lost out in the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup final, it was no surprise that they entered this year’s finals with the hunger and motivation to take the trophy home.
Having faced Italy and Canada in the group stages of the tournament, Switzerland met the Czech Republic in the semi-finals, where sealed an early win with two victories in the singles. The Swiss team then went on to face seven-time champions Australia in a tantalising final showdown for the title.
Jill Teichmann kicked things off in the final with a nail-biting opening rubber against an in-form Storm Sanders, battling past the Australian in three sets to give Switzerland the lead.
Belinda Bencic was already up 3-0 in her singles matches over the week, adding wins over Jasmine Paolini, Leylah Fernandez, Karolina Pliskova to her locker before making Australian No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic her latest victim in an emphatic 6-2, 6-1 win to clinch the title.
3) Upsets galore!
The 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals were full of twists and turns that lead to some rather unexpected upsets.
After Watson set off Great Britain’s tie against Spain with a commanding 6-0, 6-2 win against Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, Dart followed suit and produced one of the best displays of her career against the world No. 13 Paula Badosa to force the tie to a decisive doubles rubber.
The world No.98 kept her foot on the accelerator as she carried over her hard-hitting, dominant approach to her semi-final tie against Tomljanovic to stun the Australian and overcome her 7-6(3), 6-2.
On the other side of the draw, the Czech Republic grabbed an unexpected win against the United States to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in four years. World No.7 Coco Gauff and world No.14 Danielle Collins were expected to blitz past their opponents, but both players failed to win a set and the United States bowed out against the Czechs.
Storm Sanders had an extraordinary run at the Billie Jean King Cup and played a vital role in helping Australia book a spot in the final of the tournament. Sanders – currently ranked world No. 239 – secured straight set wins in her opening three matches against Alison Van Uytvanck, Viktoria Kuzmova and Watson, all of whom are ranked higher than the Australian in the WTA rankings.
4) Dramatic doubles deciders
The Billie Jean King Cup 2022 brought us some drama-filled doubles deciders that provided plenty of nail-biting, palm-sweating moments.
Amongst the most memorable were the Czech Republic’s decisive rubber against Poland which went the way of the Czechs in a 6-3, 6-3 win for Marketa Vondrousova and Katerina Siniakova, as well as Great Britain’s doubles meeting vs Spain.
However, perhaps the most dramatic doubles face off was between Great Britain and Australia in what was a winner takes all match, with a place in the Billie Jean King Cup final at stake.
With very little separating the two nations and the scoreboard being a set apiece, we went to deciding match tie-break, where the Australian duo of Storm Sanders and Sam Stosur got the better of the Great Britain’s Barnett and Nicholls 7-6(1), 6(5)-7, (10-6).
Check out the highlights below in case you missed it.
5) The debut of dreams for Barnett and Nicholls
Britain’s top doubles pair were announced in Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team with just one week to go before the tournament began.
Barnett and Nicholls have enjoyed a breakthrough year, having risen over 120 places to break into the WTA top 100s rankings in what is their first year on the tour.
The duo made their debut against Kazakhstan’s Rybakina and doubles world No.11 Anna Danilina and boy was it one to remember, as they wrapped up a 7-5, 6-3 win. In the second tie against Spain, the Brits secured another straight-sets victory over Bolsova Zadoinov and Rebeka Masarova, in what was the deciding rubber that eventually sent Great Britain through to the semi-finals.
Despite falling short in their final rubber against Australia’s Sanders and Stosur, the Brits pushed two very experienced doubles players right to the end – leading them to exit the tournament with their heads held high and a bright future ahead on the 2023 WTA tour.
6) A Finals to remember in Glasgow
It was incredible to have Glasgow as the hosts for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals this year, and what better opportunity to inspire the nation with a British crowd being able to watch some of the best players in the world on home soil.
Great Britain Captain, Anne Keothavong said, “I just want to thank everyone who has come to support the British team here. It really makes the difference and we appreciate the support… We want to put women’s sport and tennis on the map and the support you give us is helping us to create amazing memories."
We’re already looking forward to the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers!