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Swiatek powers Poland to BJK Cup finals

Poland have reached the Billie Jean King Cup finals for the first time after top-ranked Iga Swiatek overpowered Andreea Prisacariu of Romania.

Swiatek needed just 52 minutes to dispatch Prisacariu 6-0 6-0 to extend her singles winning streak to 19 in her second competitive match since becoming world No.1 for the first time.

“It took us a few years, step by step, to progress and qualify finally,” the 20-year-old Swiatek said in an on-court interview.

“Hopefully in the finals we’re going to show even more progress. I’m really proud of us.”

Swiatek’s victory made it 3-0 for Poland in the best-of-five qualifier for the finals in November.

The 2020 French Open champion beat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-0 on Friday.

Meanwhile, Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova won the doubles decider for 11-time champions Czech Republic to clinch their finals berth with a 3-2 victory over Great Britain after beating Harriet Dart and Katie Swan 6-1 7-5 in Prague.

Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up, earlier picked apart Emma Raducanu 6-1 6-1 as the teenager struggled with blisters on her right foot before Dart levelled the tie at 2-2 with a 6-0 5-7 6-2 win over 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.

Also advancing to the finals are Kazakhstan, who progressed at the expense of Germany.

Elena Rybakina came from a set down to get past three-times grand slam champion Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-3 7-5 in Nur-Sultan to give Kazakhstan an unbeatable 3-0 buffer.

The last time Germany missed the Billie Jean King Cup finals was in 2013, when it was still called the Fed Cup.

Four-time winners Italy also advanced after Camila Giorgi, who had given her country a 2-0 lead on Friday, secured the decisive point in their victory over France in Sardinia with a 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Harmony Tan.

Spain will bid for a sixth title, despite missing Paula Badosa and Garbine Muguruza this weekend, after Sara Sorribes Tormo beat Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 6-0 6-4 to secure their passage to the finals.

Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula beat Lyudmyla Kichenok and Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in doubles play to give the United States a 3-2 victory over Ukraine.

Leylah Fernandez secured Canada’s place in the finals for a second straight year when she clinched the third point against Latvia with two matches to spare.

Fernandez beat Daniela Vismane 6-2 6-1 for her second singles win in her Vancouver hometown.

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