Belgium avoid blowout at Billie Jean King Cup as Australia claim tie
2019 runners-up Australia got their 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals campaign underway positively against Belgium.
The team from down under lost to France in a deciding rubber at the last Finals and are without world number one Ashleigh Barty.
But the second seeds started well in their opening singles rubber against Belgium. Daria Gavrilova took on Greetje Minnen in a match that went three sets. After claiming the first 6-4 and surrendering the second 6-1, Gavrilova eventually won out 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to put her nation one up in the tie.
World number 131 Storm Sanders then faced world number 18 Elise Mertens in what looked a mismatch. The Belgian took advantage in the opener to claim it 6-3, before the second set required a tiebreak. Sanders edged it 7-5 to level the match.
The Australian then proceeded to dismantle Mertens as she claimed the decider to love, clinching the tie for her team. The victory was actually Sanders’ first in her career over a top 20 opponent.
Belgium were able to salvage a point as Mertens and Minnen ousted Sanders and Ellen Perez in straight sets.
Belgium have now played both of their group stage ties, with Australia to face Belarus in the final tie of Group B. While Canada are already out after playing both their group ties, Belgium must wait for other results to determine their fate.
The Billie Jean King Cup will conclude the group stage on Thursday before the semi-finals on Friday and final on Saturday.
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