Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Team Canada presented by Sobeys’ run at the Billie Jean King Cup came to a premature end on Friday with a group stage loss to Switzerland.
Both Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Annie Fernandez were defeated in the singles matches, giving the Swiss a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three tie. Canada did win the dead doubles rubber to get on the board, with the tie ending 2-1 in favour of Switzerland.
By defeating Canada, Switzerland will finish atop Group A and advance to the semis. Only each group winner reaches the final four. Canada will finish second in the group.
Andreescu was up first and got off to a quick start, racing through the opening set, but Golubic found a rhythm in the second and began to break the Canadian down. The Swiss played better on the big points in the final two sets and managed to claim a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
30 winners were not enough for Andreescu, who also committed 38 unforced errors. She will be left regretting having only converted four of her 10 break point opportunities in the match. The Canadian actually won two more points overall than her opponent in the defeat.
Holding serve was a challenge for both women early in the match, with four of the first five games going to the returner. Andreescu managed the lone hold in the early exchanges, although she still needed multiple deuces to consolidate a 3-1 lead.
Three breaks of serve put the Canadian ahead 5-1 which was more than enough cushion for Andreescu to claim the first set.
A couple of shots into the net cost Andreescu early in the second set as she gave away the break in her first service game. The closest she came to getting the break back was a break point at 1-3, but she sent her return long.
Golubic turned up the heat to start the deciding set, taking advantage of some errors off the Andreescu racket to grab an early double break lead.
The Swiss led by as much as 5-1 and served for the match at 5-2, but Andreescu refused to go away and recovered one of the breaks and had 30-all as Golubic served for it again at 5-4. But she was unable to complete the comeback as the Swiss hung on to take a 1-0 lead.
Needing a win to keep Canada alive, Leylah Annie Fernandez found herself in an early hole against world No. 12 Belinda Bencic and despite managing to level out, she never fully recovered from the slow start and was beaten 6-0, 7-5.
The serve was not as effective as it needed to be for Fernandez, as won just 45 per cent of her first serve points. Bencic was the better player in the rallies hitting more winners (19 to 16) and fewer unforced errors (17 to 24) than her opponent.
It was a less than ideal start for Fernandez as she was broken in the opening game of the match. Bencic came out swinging and her range was on point throughout the opening set.
No matter how well Fernandez defended, the Swiss seemed to have all the answers and was able to end points with her big hitting. Bencic broke three times as she handed Fernandez a bagel in the opening set.
Bencic looked primed to run away with the match when she broke to start the second set, but Fernandez never goes away quietly and managed to break right back.
The Canadian upped her level in the second and managed to make Bencic uncomfortable by moving the Swiss around the baseline. However, Fernandez found herself in trouble on serve at 4-4 and missed a forehand to give away the break.
As she often does, Fernandez kept fighting and managed to break Bencic as the Swiss served for the match. But it was all for not as the Canadian was broken again at 5-5 and at the second time of asking, Bencic was able to close out the tie for Switzerland.
A victory in the doubles softened the blow of the day, as Canada did wrap up their 2022 finals on a winning note as Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski teamed up for a 6-2, 6-1 win over Jil Teichman and Simona Waltert.
The Canadian pair picked on Jil Teichmann in the first set, breaking her both times she stepped up to the live to serve. They spread the love to Waltert too, breaking her to wrap up the opening set.
Another break of Teichmann’s serve early in the second set put the Canadians in the driver’s seat. They would add one more break before wrapping up a the quick win.