Billie Jean King Cup: Flawless Swiatek sends Poland into finals

Poland's world number one Iga Swiatek handed Romania's Andreea Prisacariu a double bagel en route to victory in its Billie Jean King Cup qualifier on Saturday, securing a 3-0 win in the tie and a spot in November's finals for the first time.

Swiatek, who put her country up 2-0 on Friday's opening day by thrashing Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-0 for an 18th straight win. (File Photo)   -  GETTY IMAGES

Poland's world number one Iga Swiatek handed Romania's Andreea Prisacariu a double bagel en route to victory in its Billie Jean King Cup qualifier on Saturday, securing a 3-0 win in the tie and a spot in November's finals for the first time.

Swiatek, who put her country up 2-0 on Friday's opening day by thrashing Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 6-0 for an 18th straight win, continued to stamp her authority on the tie as the 20-year-old broke Prisacariu six times in Radom, Poland.

"I'm really proud. I was really working hard for that. Even though I didn't play last year, I feel it's been a long journey and it took us a few years to progress step by step and qualify for the finals," Swiatek said after her 6-0, 6-0 victory.

"It just shows what a strong team we are. Hopefully in the finals we're going to show even more progress and we're going to succeed."

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Joining Poland in the finals is Kazakhstan, which beat visitor Germany 3-0 with Elena Rybakina coming from a set down to get past three-times Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in Nur-Sultan.

Harriet Dart kept Britain's hopes alive against Czech Republic by levelling the tie at 2-2, claiming her first singles victory in the competition with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win over 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.

The 25-year-old Dart looked to be cruising to victory in the second set before Fruhvirtova saved two match points, but she dug deep to take the tie to a doubles decider.

Earlier, Britain's U.S. open champion Emma Raducanu lost 6-1, 6-1 against 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova in Prague after struggling with blisters on her right foot.

"I definitely think I gave my team a little bit of a heart attack," Dart said. "It's natural that I was a bit nervous to try and close it out.

"Linda is a great player... She fought really hard and I am just really pleased to get through."

Four-time winner Italy also advanced after Camila Giorgi, who had given her country a 2-0 lead on Friday, secured the decisive point in its victory over France in Sardinia with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Harmony Tan.

Spain will bid for a sixth title, despite missing Paula Badosa and Garbine Muguruza this weekend, after Sara Sorribes Tormo beat Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 6-0 6-4 to secure its passage to the finals.

Canada, led by U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez, and the U.S. are also in prime position to advance with 2-0 leads before resuming their ties against Latvia and Ukraine respectively later on Saturday.

Belgium is already in the finals after receiving a walkover with opponents Belarus being suspended from international team competitions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia calls a "special operation."

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