PRAGUE (REUTERS) – Russia claimed their fifth Billie Jean King Cup title on Saturday (Nov 6) after Daria Kasatkina and Liudmila Samsonova handed them an unbeatable 2-0 lead over Switzerland.
After Kasatkina had romped to a 6-2 6-4 win over Jil Teichmann, Samsonova held her nerve despite being a late replacement for the injured Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Belinda Bencic 3-6 6-3 6-4 and secure Russia their first title since 2008 in the women’s team competition.
Samsonova raised her arms in victory and was embraced by her team mates, while American great Billie Jean King watched on from the stands.
“It is unbelievable. It was an incredible fight,” an emotional Samsonova said on court.
After losing the opening set, world No. 40 Samsonova found her rhythm to level the match at one-set all.
The Russian saved one break point midway through the third set with an ace en route to taking a 4-2 lead.
Bencic, seeking to give Switzerland a first title, never got another chance to break serve again as Samsonova sealed the win.
Russia were competing in Prague as the Russian Tennis Federation due to doping sanctions that prevent them using their country’s flag and anthem.