Slovenia upset China in Billie Jean King Cup

Velenje, 13 November - The Slovenian women's tennis team surprisingly defeated China in the semi-finals of the qualifying for the final tournament of the Billie Jean King Cup, winning 3:1 on Saturday.

Antalya, Turkey
Slovenian tennis player Kaja Juvan (left) and coach Andrej Kraševec.
Photo: Slovenian Tennis Association

China came to Slovenia with four players in the top 100 of the WTA rankings, while Slovenia fielded Kaja Juvan, who is 88th, and Nina Potočnik, ranked 270th, after cancellations by the best players, Tamara Zidanšek and Andreja Klepač.

After the first day of play the teams were even as Potočnik went down to Qinwen Zheng and Juvan defeated Xiyu Wang, a top 50 player. But on the second day Juvan defeated Qinwen and Potočnik bested Xiyu in straight sets.

Slovenia will now advance to the finals of the qualifying for the main tournament, which will be held in April. Ten of the 18 participating teams will make it to the final tournament.

Team captain Andrej Kraševec was elated. "This is phenomenal, extraordinary, unimaginable. We were hoping for a surprise, but we did not even dare dream that things could develop so successfully," he said.

Juvan, aged 21, put on what was perhaps her best performance ever for the Slovenian team as she defeated Qinwen, who ranks ranks 25th in the world.

"After a long time I felt the competitive edge and in particular in the third set I enjoyed tennis once again. I felt good and in control," she said.

"Winning against such a high-ranked player is confirmation that I am on the right track and that my place is definitely among the world's top 50 players," she said.

© STA, 2022