U.S. finishes Billie Jean King Cup qualifying unbeaten

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Jessica Pegula and the United States finished off a sweep of Austria in Billie Jean King Cup qualifying action on Saturday in Delray Beach, Fla.

Pegula defeated Julia Grabher 6-1, 6-3, while Coco Gauff and Caty McNally bested Melanie Klaffner and Sinja Kraus 6-1, 6-4. Gauff and Pegula each recorded straight-set wins on Friday.

Qualifiers took place on Friday and Saturday at locations around the world. The winning nations will advance to the finals in November. Switzerland and Austria have already qualified for the finals as last year’s two finalists.

Each best-of-five series consists of two singles matches on the first day, then the reverse singles matches followed by a doubles match on the second day.

Italy began Saturday with a 2-0 lead on Slovakia in Bratislava, Slovakia, but had to hold on for a 3-2 victory. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Viktoria Hruncakova, who lost their singles matches on Friday, turned the tables.

Schmiedlova defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and Hruncakova turned back Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3, 7-6 (2), but Italy survived when its doubles team of Cocciaretto and Martina Trevisan outlasted Hruncakova and Tereza Mihalikova 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Romania also began the day with a 2-0 lead in Koper, Slovenia, but saw its lead over Slovenia disappear when Tamara Zidansek defeated Ana Bogdan 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 and Kaja Juvan turned back Jaqueline Adina Cristian 6-2, 6-4.

The doubles match pitting Juvan and Zidansek against Irina Bara and Monica Niculescu was suspended at 3-3 in the first set. It is scheduled to be completed Sunday morning.

Spain clinched its series against Mexico in Marbella, Spain, when Nurria Parrizas-Diaz defeated Marcela Zacarias in straight sets, after Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos and Renata Zarazua avoided a sweep with a three-set win in the third match.

The Czech Republic, which began the day leading Ukraine 2-0 in Antalya, Turkey, lost its first match of the day when Marta Kostyuk won in three sets over Barbora Krejcikova, but finished off the series when Marketa Vondrousova won her match in straight sets.

Germany won both of its matches to break away from a 1-1 tie and claim the series against Brazil in Stuttgart, Germany. Jule Niemeier posted a three-set win over Beatriz Haddad Maia, and then Anna-Lena Friedsam lost only one game in defeating Laura Pigossi.

France and Kazakhstan, which also ended Friday with 2-0 leads, finished off their opponents 3-1 on Saturday. Great Britain’s Caroline Garcia won her singles match to pull within 2-1 of France in Coventry, Great Britain, but Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls defeated Clara Burel and Kristina Mladenovic in a hard-fought, three-set match to clinch.

Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina handed Poland’s Magda Linette her second loss in two days to clinch the 3-1 series win in Astana, Kazakhstan. It came after Weronika Falkowska and Alicja Rosolska won their doubles match to trim Poland’s deficit to 2-1.

Canada and Belgium were tied 1-1 entering Saturday in Vancouver, Canada, and Leylah Fernandez took over, lifting the home side to the series victory.

After Fernandez’s three-set win over Ysaline Bonaventure, Belgium’s Greet Minnen again knotted the match with a three-set win over Katherine Sebov. But Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski left no doubt about the doubles outcome, defeating Minnen and Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.

–Field Level Media

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