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Billie Jean King Cup: Italy book semi-finals place for first time since 2014 with win over Germany

Straight-sets wins for Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini ensured four-time champions Italy secured a spot in the last four of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals for the first time in nine years; Switzerland's reign as champions was ended by a defeat to the United States

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Following their stunning 3-0 victory over Spain on Wednesday, Canada sealed their place in the Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals with a 3-0 victory over Poland in Thursday's tie in Seville

Italy secured a place in the last four of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals with victory over Group D rivals Germany in Seville.

Straight-sets wins for Martina Trevisan and Jasmine Paolini gave the Italians, four-time champions, an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the tie.

World No 43 Trevisan beat Eva Lys 7-6 (8) 6-1 while Paolini, ranked No 30 in singles, saw off Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3 6-2.

In the doubles, Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto won 6-4 6-7 (4) (11-9) in a match tiebreak against Friedsam and Laura Siegemund.

Following a 2-1 win over France on Wednesday, the Italians progress to the last four of the tournament for the first time since 2014.

In Group B, last year's runner-up Australia kept alive their hopes of progress with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

After losing to Slovenia in the opening tie on Tuesday, the Australians were in need of a response, which Storm Hunter produced when beating Anna Danilina 7-6 (2) 6-4 in the opening singles.

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Kazakhstan, though, were soon level after Yulia Putintseva defeated Kimberly Birrell 6-0 7-5.

The result was decided in the doubles rubber, where new WTA doubles world No 1 Hunter paired with Ellen Perez to eventually see off Danilina and Putintseva in a match tiebreak to complete a 6-1 4-6 (10-5) victory.

The winner of Group B will be determined after Friday's tie between Kazakhstan and Slovenia.

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

US Sofia Kenin returns the ball against Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic during their group stage tennis match at the Billie Jean King Cup finals at La Cartuja stadium in Seville, southern Spain, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Image: Sofia Kenin helped the United States to victory over Switzerland

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 that she was expecting a baby.

Danielle Collins used her experience to beat youngster Celine Naef 7-6(4) 6-1 and former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin overcame Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-7(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.

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.

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