Russia crush Canada at Billie Jean King Cup to dampen win over France
Canada suffered the first blowout tie of the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup as Russia put the North Americans to the sword.
On the opening day of the premier international event, Canada upset defending champion France 2-1 to open their campaign.
The elation did not last though, as they next faced Russia. The Russian team is completely comprised of players ranked within the world’s top 50. As such, world number 328 Carol Zhao lost handily to Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1 in the first rubber.
In the second, Rebecca Marino put up a good fight against Roland Garros runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. However, the world number 12 did eventually claim victory 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to give Russia a 2-0 lead.
Finally, Ludmilla Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova dispatched Marino and Gabriela Dabrowski 6-3, 6-1 to shutout Canada 3-0 in the tie.
The result now means that Canada cannot progress to the semi-finals it is impossible for them to win their group.
Russia now leads Group A 3-0 in rubbers, Canada is second at 2-4, France third at 1-2. But with Canada having completed their ties, they cannot overtake Russia’s three rubber wins.
France can still oust Russia if they sweep them 3-0 in their tie, scheduled for Wednesday.
Russia are vying for their fifth triumph at the event, having previously won in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. They have since been runner-up three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
They lost to Italy in 2013 and the Czech Republic on the other two occasions.
Pavyluchenkova was part of that most recent runner-up result. The 30-year-old unfortunately lost all three of her rubbers in the final that year, two in singles and one in doubles.
Defending champions France have won before in 1997, 2003 and 2019. They were runners-up to Russia in 2004 and 2005, then to the Czech Republic in 2016.
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