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Prague, Czech Republic, November 2, 2021 —On the second day of the Billie Jean King Cup presented by BNP Paribas Finals, the Canadian team presented by Sobeys lost to the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) and is now officially out of the competition. Team Canada posted a win and a loss, but the RTF’s 3-0 victory means the Canadian team can no longer qualify from Group A.

In the first singles match of the day, Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON) was called upon to replace Françoise Abanda, who was suffering from a foot injury. The Ontarian got things off to a great start against No. 28 Daria Kasatkina, even coming back from a break in the first set to even things at 3-3, but was unable to consolidate or find her rhythm. Zhao lost in two sets 6-3, 6-1.

“I wanted to do better [for Canadian fans] and for my teammates,” said Carol Zhao. “You always learn a lot from matches like these, and I certainly will go back, look at it, try to reflect and improve from it”.

In the second singles match, Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) lost in three sets to No. 12 and RTF No. 1 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. It was a heated battle, but Pavlyuchenkova was brilliant on serve. She hit nine aces and chalked up a first-serve percentage of 86%. The Canadian also did well on serve (six aces, 73% first serve) but had to face down ten breaks versus only two for her opponent. Pavlyuchenkova secured three of her breaks, including a critical one early in the third set that gave her crucial momentum.

In the last match of the tie, Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) and Marino were in action in doubles. They were overpowered in two sets by Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-1. The Russian pair was able to capitalize on their opportunities, winning five of nine break points compared to only one of six for the Canadians.

Canada now has to wait until the end of the event to find out where it will stand in the rankings. The winner of Group A, which will compete in the semi-finals, will be decided tomorrow when France and the RTF go head-to-head. Despite the loss, Sylvain Bruneau and Marino referenced the many positive takeaways the team has from this very first edition of the year-end World Cup of Tennis. 

“Today was not our day. We played a very good team with a lot of depth. They were very powerful. But overall, it’s been positive,” said Bruneau. “We were not supposed to be here in the first place, and to come here and beat France, the defending champions, was a great performance in itself. It’s been really pleasant and a lot of fun.”

“The whole experience has been really incredible. Canada was a late entry to begin with and to be here as a team, to come together and to play with a lot of heart was a really special thing,” said Marino. “We showed that, though we may have lost and eliminated from the tournament, we belong with the best and we play with a lot of fight and fire. We should really be proud of ourselves and each other.”

Information for writers

Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas 2021 Finals—event information
Dates: Monday 1 to Saturday 6 November 2021
Venue: O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Surface: Indoor hard courts
No. of match courts: 2
No. of nations: 12
Event format: 4 Groups (A, B, C, D*) of 3 nations. Group winners progress to semi-finals and final.
The 2021 world champion and runner-up earn automatic qualification for the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas 2022 Finals. The remaining 10 nations will compete in the 2022 Qualifiers along with the winning nations of the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas 2021 Play-Offs:
*Group A: France (1), Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), CANADA
Group B: Australia (2), Belarus, Belgium
Group C: USA (3), Spain, Slovakia
Group D: Czech Republic (4), Germany, Switzerland

Czech Republic has hosted previous editions of the competition at the O2 Arena in the last decade, with the national Czech Republic team winning the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018 Finals on home soil.

About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association with a mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada and a vision to become a world-leading tennis nation. We value teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence. Tennis Canada owns and operates the premier National Bank Open presented by Rogers WTA and ATP Tour events, four professional ATP and ITF sanctioned events and financially supports four other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates junior national training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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