US end Swiss reign in BJK Cup Finals, Aussies out


Switzerland's reign as Billie Jean King Cup champions is over after they suffered a second successive loss in Seville, this time at the hands of the United States.

Italy became the first nation through to the semi-finals after beating Germany 3-0 in Group D on Thursday.

Canada also made sure of first place in Group C as they won both singles matches against a Poland side missing world No.1 Iga Swiatek.

Teenager Marina Stakusic enhanced her burgeoning reputation with a 4-6 7-5 6-3 defeat of Magdalena Frech before world No.20 Leylah Fernandez eased past Magda Linette.

"I'm proud and ecstatic that we are in the semis," Fernandez said. "Happy I could execute my game plan."

Last year's runners-up Australia edged Kazakhstan 2-1 in Group, B although they can no longer qualify for the semi-finals.

The United States arrived in Andalucia without top players Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula but still proved too strong for a Swiss side missing Belinda Bencic who announced last week she is expecting a baby.

Danielle Collins used her experience to beat youngster Celine Naef 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 before former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin overcame Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-7 (7-1) 7-5 to give her team an unassailable lead in the tie.

Kenin dominated the best part of two sets and was close to a straight-sets win before being dragged into a decider.

Three match points came and went at 6-5 on her serve but she kept her cool to finish the job and send the Swiss packing.

Kathy Rinaldi's team now face a Group A clash with the Czech Republic on Friday to decide who goes through to the weekend's semi-finals.

Italy had dispatched France on Wednesday and followed up strongly against Germany as Martina Trevisan secured a hardfought 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 victory over Eva Lys.

Jasmine Paolini, who like Trevisan also won her singles against France, then dispatched Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3 6-2.

Italy polished off the doubles as they moved to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2014.

"I think we have to rest tomorrow and be prepared for the next day. We've reached the semi-final which was a big goal for us," Italy captain Tathiana Garbin said.

"We have to be happy but never satisfied."

Australia had their backs to the wall after losing to Slovenia on Tuesday but went out fighting in captain Alicia Molik's last tie in charge.

Molik changed her line-up and world number 155 Storm Hunter rewarded her faith by posting a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Anna Danilina, ranked a lowly 802nd.

Yulia Putintseva got the Kazakhs back in the tie as she beat Kim Birrell 6-0 7-5 to set up a doubles decider.

Doubles world No.1 Hunter then returned to court alongside Ellen Perez to take on Danilina and Putintseva and after splitting the opening two sets they held their nerve to win the match tiebreak 10-5.

Kakakhstan face Slovenia on Friday with Group B top spot and a semi-final place at stake.