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Canada eliminated from Billie Jean King Cup after losing tie to Switzerland

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GLASGOW, United Kingdom — Canada was eliminated from the Billie Jean King Cup after dropping two singles matches to Switzerland in the women’s international tennis competition on Friday.

Bianca Andreescu, of Mississauga, Ont., fell 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Viktorija Golubic in the opener, before Montreal’s Leylah Fernandez dropped a 6-0, 7-5 straight-set decision to Belinda Bencic.

“Today was super up-and-down,” Andreescu said after her match. “I fought as hard as I could.

“I felt like I could have played better in certain moments, maybe be more smart with my tactics. … Obviously disappointing.”

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Canada prevented a sweep when Fernandez and Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski teamed up to defeat Jil Teichmann and Simona Waltert 6-2, 6-1 in doubles play.

Canada had high hopes entering Friday’s play after rolling to a 3-0 victory over Italy on Thursday. Switzerland won all three of its matches against the Italians on Wednesday.

Swiss captain Heinz Guenthardt decided to rest his second-highest ranked player in Teichmann in singles competition after the world No. 35 spent four and a half hours on the court in Switzerland’s win over Italy.

The gamble paid off. Golubic, ranked 77th, managed to win four of five breakpoint opportunities against Andreescu, who appeared to be hampered by a leg injury late in the match. Andreescu committed 38 unforced errors, compared to Golubic’s 20.

“She (Golubic) just played really good,” Andreescu said. “I mean forehand, backhand, she was very solid. She wasn’t really missing much.

“Her serve isn’t the fastest but it’s effective some way, and her movement’s incredible.

“I felt in the third set she was just starting the match. Like, she wasn’t sweating at all.”

Fernandez, who entered her match against Bencic without dropping a game in her singles match against Italy’s Martina Trevisan on Thursday, found herself on the other end of a bagel when she failed to score against Bencic in the first set.

Bencic, the world’s 12th ranked player, won 71 per cent of her first serves and was successful on six of 10 breakpoint opportunities against the 40th ranked Fernandez.

Fernandez fought back in the second set, and kept the match alive with a break in the 10th game to even the set at 5-5. But Bencic responded with a break and made good in her second chance to serve for the match.

“I’m satisfied with both sets,” Bencic said. “Obviously the first set I’m satisfied with my level of play and in the second set I’m satisfied with how I managed to stay tough when it mattered.”

Fernandez, who fell to 2-2 lifetime against Bencic, called the match a “learning experience.”

“Yeah, it was definitely a tough first set. Belinda came in and she played well,” Fernandez said.  “I unfortunately made a couple of mistakes on key moments that did not help.”

Switzerland will face either the United States or Czech Republic in Saturday’s semifinal.

Great Britain will play Australia in the other semifinal.

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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Maple Leafs’ Murray dealing with ankle injury, Samsonov to start vs. Capitals – Sportsnet.ca

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Bo Horvat puts up four assists as Canucks top Blue Jackets – Sportsnet.ca

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