Billie Jean King Cup: Russia claim fifth title with victory over Switzerland
Russia end 13-year drought after Daria Kasatkina and Liudmila Samsonova pick up wins to build an unassailable 2-0 lead over Switzerland and capture the BJK Cup at the O2 Arena in Prague on Saturday night
Last Updated: 06/11/21 8:39pm
Russia claimed the Billie Jean King Cup title as Liudmila Samsonova overcame Olympic champion Belinda Bencic to seal an unassailable 2-0 lead over Switzerland on Saturday.
Daria Kasatkina gave Russia the lead with a 6-2 6-4 victory against Jil Teichmann in the opening rubber before world No 40 Samsonova battled back from a one-set deficit to overcome Bencic 3-6 6-3 6-4 to complete victory in a dominant display.
Russia, who were playing the final for the first time since 2015, were inspired by Samsonova who capped a superb debut in the competition, with the 22-year-old winning all five of her matches during the week, two in singles and three in doubles.
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Samsonova and her team-mates were playing under the banner of the Russian Tennis Federation, with their country still banned from international sport for doping violations.
"I have too many emotions now," Samsonova said after beating Bencic for the third time this season and clinching the Billie Jean King Cup for her country.
"It's unbelievable. I'm unbelievably happy."
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The Billie Jean King Cup - formerly known as the Fed Cup - followed the Davis Cup in switching to a World Cup-style event last year.
The finals week, which had been due to be held last April, was twice postponed and moved from its original venue, Budapest, because of coronavirus-related issues.
This is Russia's first title since they claimed four successes in five years between 2004 and 2008.