(Photo credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)
Canada and Italy swept their Thursday matches and became the first two teams to book semifinal spots at the Billie Jean King Cup in Seville, Spain.
In Group C, Canada improved to 2-0 with a 3-0 victory over Poland.
Italy moved to 2-0 in Group D by downing Germany 3-0.
Twelve teams were divided into four groups to begin the event with round-robin play. The winner of each group will advance to play in the semifinals on Saturday, and the final is scheduled for Sunday.
Each match consists of two singles matches followed by a doubles match.
Marina Stakusic, 18, got Canada off to a good start by rallying past Poland’s Magdalena Frech 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Leylah Fernandez sealed the team victory by topping Magda Linette 6-2, 6-3. In a meaningless doubles match, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Gabriela Dabrowski beat Weronika Falkowska and Katarzyna Kawa 6-2, 6-3.
Italy sailed through its two singles matches against Germany without losing a set, as Martina Trevisan defeated Eva Lys 7-6 (6), 6-1 and Jasmine Paolini crushed Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3, 6-2. In doubles, Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat Friedsam and Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-7 (4), 11-9.
In the day’s other matches, the United States team won its opener 3-0 over Switzerland in Group A, and Australia leveled its record at 1-1 with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan in Group B.
The United States’ Danielle Collins defeated Switzerland’s Celine Naef 7-6 (4), 6-1, and Sofia Kenin edged Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-5. Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend capped the sweep with a 6-1, 7-6 (3) triumph over Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert.
The U.S. team will oppose the Czech Republic (1-0) on Friday, with the winner advancing to the semifinals. Switzerland finished 0-2.
Storm Hunter was the hero for Australia, winning her singles match 7-6 (2), 6-4 over Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina and then teaming with Ellen Perez for a 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 victory over Yulia Putintseva and Anna Danilina. Putinseva earned a singles win over Kimberly Birrell, 6-0, 7-5.
Group B play will conclude Friday, when Slovenia (1-0) would make the semifinals with a win over Kazakhstan (0-1).
Billie Jean King Cup group standings:
T1. United States, 1-0
T1. Czech Republic, 1-0
3. Switzerland, 0-2
1. Slovenia, 1-0
2. Australia, 1-1
3. Kazakhstan, 0-1
1. Canada, 2-0
T2. Poland, 0-1
T2. Spain, 0-1
1. Italy, 2-0
T2. France, 0-1
T2. Germany, 0-1
–Field Level Media