Fernandez stars as Canada set up BJK Cup final v Italy


Leylah Fernadez has stepped up as Canada upset the powerhouse Czech Republic 2-1 to set up a Billie Jean King Cup final against Italy.

Fernandez downed Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 2-6 6-3 to level the semi-final at 1-1 in Madrid on Saturday.

World No.10 Barbora Krejcikova had earlier put 11-time champions Czech Republic ahead with a 6-2 6-1 singles win over 18-year-old Marina Stakusic.

The 21-year-old Fernandez then came out with Gabriela Dabrowski to edge out Katerina Siniakova and Krejcikova 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in the deciding doubles to send Canada into the Billie Jean King Cup final for the first time.

"Definitely, is being a great day for us, Team Canada. In the singles match I was super happy to have the crowd with me, cheering me on that really help me," said Fernandez.

Earlier, Jasmine Paolini defeated Tamara Zidansek and Martina Trevisan beat Kaja Juvan in Italy's 2-0 win over Slovenia to advance to the final and continue their quest for a fifth crown.

Paolini survived a wobble midway through the second singles clash before the world number 30 battled past Zidansek 6-2 4-6 6-3 to send her team through to the title clash, sparking huge celebrations from Italian fans at the Estadio de la Cartuja.

The 27-year-old Paolini was trailing 2-0 in the decider but quickly rediscovered her rhythm to dash the hopes of first-time semi-finalists Slovenia, the lowest-ranked of the 12 countries in the competition.

Trevisan put Italy on course to reach the final for a sixth time with a battling 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory over Slovenian world No.104 Juvan.

After edging a tight opening set, the 43rd-ranked Trevisan fought back from 3-1 down in the second and grabbed the decisive break in the eighth game to seal victory in two hours and 20 minutes.

"I have to say that today was really tough," Trevisan said as Italy tasted success in their first semi-final appearance in the competition since 2014. "A lot of emotions and a lot of firsts."

Italy's last triumph in the competition came 10 years ago, and they will face stiff competition in Sunday's title clash from Canada who have yet to win the tournament.