Andreescu, Fernandez post wins to help Canada sweep Italy at Billie Jean King Cup
Canada needs to beat Switzerland on Friday to advance to Saturday's semifinals
Canada rolled to a 3-0 victory over Italy in Group A play on Thursday at the Billie Jean King Cup.
Bianca Andreescu defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the opener of the best-of-three tie and Leylah Fernandez locked up the win with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Martina Trevisan.
Fernandez later teamed with Gabriela Dabrowski for a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jasmine Paolini and Lucia Bronzetti to complete the sweep.
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., was tested in her opening set. The 2019 US Open champion rallied from 2-5 down and went on to complete the win in one hour 51 minutes.
"I kind of like playing when I'm down, so I raised my level somehow," Andreescu said. "I don't know, there is like a switch in my brain. I just become more aggressive."
Andreescu dropped her first service game to start the second set, but responded quickly. She won 80 per cent of points on her first serve in the set, and broke Cocciaretto twice en route to a 6-3 win.
"The support from everyone that are in the stands, my cheerleaders from Canada, I'm glad that they came down," Andreescu said. "Without their support, I don't know if I could have pulled the win today, so I'm very grateful."
WATCH l Andreescu rallies to a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Elisabetta Cocciarett:
Fernandez, from Laval, Que., wasted little time in her singles match.
She needed just 44 minutes to complete the rare double bagel. It was her first shutout in an official match since a junior win over Elsa Jacquemot at Roland Garros in 2019.
Fernandez broke Trevisan four times and had just two unforced errors in a first set that took just 18 minutes to complete.
She continued her strong play in the second, hitting 10 winners and converting 88 per cent of first-serve points.
"Bianca played a great match and I think I was just so happy I was able to follow it up with a great performance," Fernandez said.
WATCH l Fernandez blanks Martina Trevisan, hands Canada best-of-three win over Italy:
Fernandez and Dabrowski, from Ottawa, then breezed to a doubles win in 46 minutes.
The Canadian duo didn't face a break point in the first set, then converted 92 per cent of first serve points in the second set to wrap up the match in just 46 minutes.
WATCH l Fernandez, Dabrowski breeze past Italy's Paolini, Bronzetti:
The results set up a Friday showdown with Switzerland, a 3-0 winner over Italy on Wednesday.
Captain Sylvain Bruneau has until one hour before match time to set his lineup for the Group A finale. The winner will advance to Saturday's semifinals.
"We expect a tough match with Switzerland," Bruneau said. "They have very good players, very powerful players. It's going to be a different day so we have to be ready.
"Enjoy today but tomorrow is another one."
The final is set for Sunday.
The Swiss side is anchored by 13th-ranked Belinda Bencic and No. 35 Jill Teichmann.
Canada upset 2020 champion France last year before falling to Russia. Andreescu and Fernandez were not in the lineup.
Switzerland lost to Russia in last year's final. Russia is not in the field this year due to suspension.
Switzerland is fifth in the nation rankings. Canada is sixth and Italy is 12th.
The Canadian lineup is rounded out by Vancouver's Rebecca Marino and Carol Zhao of Vaughan, Ont.
Canada has never reached the final at this tournament. Canada made it to the semifinals in 1988 before losing to Czechoslovakia.
Australia, Britain into semifinals
Britain pulled off an unlikely 3-0 victory over Spain in the Billie Jean King Cup on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the top team event in women's tennis for the first time in 41 years.
Australia also reached the last four in Glasgow, but the story of the day was Britain's remarkable comeback to win Group C — sealed by a victory by a rookie doubles pairing.
Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls were late call-ups following Emma Raducanu's withdrawal and had not been in anything remotely like this situation before. Still, they shrugged off the pressure of a winner-takes-all doubles match against Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova to win 7-6 (5), 6-2.
That backed up earlier wins in the singles by Heather Watson and Harriet Dart over much higher-ranked opponents. Hart was in tears after stunning 13th-ranked Paula Badosa in a 6-3, 6-4 victory, despite a ranking gap of 85 places.
"It's so awesome being here in Britain and being able to host this event," Dart said. "I'm just so happy to keep this one alive."
In the first match, Watson was excellent in a 6-0, 6-2 win against Nuria Parrizas Diaz.
Britain arguably should not even be in the 12-team tournament, having lost a qualifier to the Czech Republic in April. The team was given a wild-card entry when Britain stepped in to host the event at the Emirates Arena and made the most of it by sweeping the five-time champions two days after a loss to Kazakhstan.
Earlier, Australia became the first nation to reach the semifinals by beating Belgium 3-0 for a second group win.
Australia, which also triumphed in the doubles, had already beaten Slovakia on Tuesday in Group B.
Belgium played its two matches before the Czech Republic, who had two players at the WTA Finals last week, contested its first in Group D. That drew criticism from Belgium captain Johan Van Herck.
"We were not helped by the situation," he said. "What happened with Elise, I don't think it's very correct. It had a huge impact on what we had to go through here, especially Elise now with an injury.
"So it's something where I think we, as a small country, have to pay a price for not being the Czech Republic that starts today or the United States that can play in the evening."
The Czechs defeated Poland 2-1 and will play the U.S. for a place in the semifinals
With files from The Associated Press
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