Italy overcome spirited Slovenia to reach BJK Cup final

SEVILLE, Spain – Jasmine Paolini defeated Tamara Zidansek and Martina Trevisan beat Kaja Juvan as Italy secured a 2-0 victory over Slovenia in Seville on Saturday to reach the Billie Jean King Cup final and stay on course for their fifth crown in the team competition.

Paolini survived a wobble midway through the second singles clash before the world number 30 battled past Zidansek 6-2 4-6 6-3 to send her team through to the title clash, sparking huge celebrations from Italian fans at the Estadio de la Cartuja.

The 27-year-old Paolini was trailing 2-0 in the decider but quickly rediscovered her rhythm to dash the hopes of first-time semi-finalists Slovenia, who were the lowest-ranked of the 12 countries in the competition.

Trevisan earlier put Italy in front in their quest to make the final of the event for a sixth time with a battling 7-6(6) 6-3 victory over Slovenian world number 104 Juvan.

After edging a tight opening set in the tie break, the 43rd-ranked Trevisan fought back from 3-1 down in the second set and grabbed the decisive break in the eighth game to secure the win in two hours and 20 minutes.

“I have to say that today was really tough,” Trevisan said as Italy tasted success in their first semi-final appearance in the competition since 2014. “A lot of emotions and a lot of firsts … A result obtained starting from very far.”

Italy’s last triumph in the competition came 10 years ago, and they could face stiff competition in Sunday’s title clash.

Eleven-time winners Czech Republic, who will be high on confidence after their victory over 18-time champions United States on Friday, take on Canada – yet to win the tournament – in the second semi-final later on Saturday.

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