GLASGOW - Switzerland and the Czech Republic advanced from their Billie Jean King Cup groups on Friday to set up a semi-final clash in Glasgow.
The Swiss defeated Canada 2-1 to win Group A, while the Czech Republic beat the United States 2-1 to clinch top spot in Group D.
Both Switzerland and Canada had comfortably dispatched Italy in their opening matches at the Emirates Arena, making it a straight fight between for a last-four place.
Viktorija Golubic set last year’s beaten finalists on their way by coming from a set down to upset former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
World No. 2 Belinda Bencic sealed the tie after beating last year’s US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 6-0, 7-5.
“It feels great. Obviously we are very happy to make it into the semi-finals,” Bencic said. “It’s not easy. We showed that we are one of the world’s best teams, that we are so consistent.
“It shows that we really care, first of all, about the Billie Jean King Cup and playing for our country.”
Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski won the dead rubber doubles 6-2, 6-1 against Swiss pair Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert.
The Czechs’ surprise victory over the US was inspired by Marketa Vondrousova and Katerina Siniakova.
Vondrousova gave her team a flying start when she defeated world No. 14 Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-3 in 72 minutes.
That left world No. 7 Coco Gauff needing to beat Siniakova to keep American hopes alive.
But Siniakova, ranked 47th, powered to 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 win as Gauff lost her fifth successive singles matches after a wretched time at the recent WTA Finals.
The Czechs, who are 11-time champions, are back in the semi-finals for the first time since 2018 as they chase their first title in four years.
With the tie over, the Czech pair of Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova succumbed to a 6-3, 6-3 loss against Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend in the doubles.
In Saturday’s other semi-final, hosts Britain will make their first appearance in the last four in 41 years when they meet Australia. AFP