Canada Secures its First Win at The Billie Jean King Cup Finals Against France
Abanda wins in singles, Marino and Dabrowski triumph in doubles
Prague, Czechia, November 1, 2021 — Today, the Canadian team presented by Sobeys won its first tie at the Billie Jean King Cup presented by BNP Paribas Finals with a 2-1 victory over reigning champions France. The triumph means Team Canada is now leading Group A, which also includes the Russian Tennis Federation.
In the first singles match, No. 353 Françoise Abanda upset No.105 Fiona Ferro in three tight sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Playing with conviction and exceptional self-confidence, the Quebecer orchestrated a sensational comeback in the second set by winning four straight games, including two breaks, to take control and force a third. She cemented the win at 6-4, in just over two hours (2:18).
“Right now, Fiona [Ferro] is ranked higher than I am. She had a few good results this year, and I knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Abanda. “I play really well at team competitions and was feeling confident. I could have collapsed and lost in two sets, but I hung in there and came back in the third. Frankly, I’m pretty happy with my performance.”
Next up was Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) who took on No.59 Alizé Cornet. Despite her valiant efforts, the Canadian couldn’t repeat Françoise’s success and fell in two sets 6-4, 7-6(5). Still, Marino showed tremendous resilience: down 3-1 in the second, she turned to her powerful serve (4 aces, 69% first serve percentage) to win three straight games and get ahead 4-3. The battle got so heated that it took a tiebreaker to decide the outcome. In the end, Cornet clawed her way back from 1-4 and closed things out at 7-5.
Marino wasted no time exacting revenge on her opponent, teaming up with Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) in doubles to claim the last match of the tie and defeat Cornet and 20-year-old Clara Burel in two sets 6-3, 7-6(6). The Canadians won the first set in only 28 minutes but had to fight for the second and erase a 2-5 deficit. Thanks to some inspired tennis by Dabrowski, who recently reached a career-high ranking of No. 5 in doubles, the pair kept the momentum going and secured the team’s first key win.
“It’s phenomenal. I said we could come here and surprise some people and that definitely happened today,” said Gabriela Dabrowski. “I’m really proud of everyone’s performance, in singles and doubles.”
“I think we have a belief in our team and we have good teamwork. It’s just a matter of having trust in each other and keeping up the fight. We know we can pull it off,” added Rebecca Marino. “Losing in a tight singles match and coming out in the doubles is extra motivation. We all played successfully as a team.”
“It was an amazing performance by the girls. They played with heart and courage. They went for their shots and believed in themselves, and that made the difference,” affirmed interim captain Sylvain Bruneau. “It was a tall order to play against France in the first round, and I’m very proud of them for playing such brilliant tennis.”
In the last Group A tie, the Canadian team faces a huge challenge in the Russian Tennis Federation. The clashes are set to get underway tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. EST on Court 1 at O2 Arena in Prague. The showdown will be broadcast live on Sportsnet (English) and TVA Sports (French). The names of the players will be announced an hour before the first match.
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: www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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