holders of France surprised by Canada at the Billie Jean King Cup | Tennis News

PRAGUE: The French champions stumbled over the first hurdle as they lost to Canada in their opener of the first Billie Jean King Cup final tournament in Prague on Monday.
The 2019 Fed Cup champions and the seeds of its rebranded version must beat Russia on Wednesday to keep their hopes of sustaining the play-offs.
Fiona Ferro lost the first set against the Canadian Françoise Abanda, 353rd, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6.
“I think I started the game pretty well and had a lot of opportunities especially in the second set,” said Ferro.
“I was leading 2-0 in the second set and couldn’t take advantage of it, so of course it’s frustrating.”
Alize Cornet then equalized the score by beating Rebecca Marino 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
“For sure playing for my country makes it extra special and you dig even deeper to try and play your best tennis,” said Cornet.
“It wasn’t my best tennis today, but it’s the best I can do today with all my heart and I think it was a pretty good game overall.”
But Cornet failed to convince as she teamed up with Clara Burel for the decisive double and lost 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to Gabriela Dabrowski and Marino.
Canada was a late addition to the tournament, replacing Hungary after Budapest transferred hosting rights to Prague.
“To beat number one is obviously amazing and I think we should be really proud of ourselves,” beamed Marino after the game.
“As a team, we came together and fought with a lot of hearts.”
In the afternoon’s other game of the new Fed Cup tournament, Belgium won both singles to beat Belarus 2-1 in Group B.
World number 70 Greet Minnen first beat Irina Shymanovich, 263rd, of Belarus 6-2, 6-2 in the first set.
“I’m really happy, it was my first time playing for Belgium and I’m really happy to have been able to give our country the first win of the day,” said Minnen.
Elise Mertens added a second point when she outscored Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in over two hours.
Sasnovich and Vera Lapko went on to win a consolation point for Belarus by beating Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-3.
“We started very strong, Greet was doing really well and that made it easier for me,” said Mertens.
“Today we are happy to have won the two singles, so we finally got the victory.”

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