Tennis: Billie Jean King Cup continues in Washington

Billie Jean King Tournament Court 3

Billie Jean King’s Billie Jean King Cup competition has reached the semi-finals as the United States joined Russia in a all-star encounter in Washington.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens and last year’s Billie Jean King Cup runner-up Madison Keys were also on fire as they felled German champions Julia Goerges and former French Open winner Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-3.

Qualifying champions Russian Irina Khromacheva and Garbine Muguruza swept aside Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, who had both just qualified for the main WTA season-ending championships.

This tournament now prepares for an all-star encounter featuring three-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Olympic gold medallist Kvitova will take on Stephens before defending champion/2016 Billie Jean King Cup champion Pavlyuchenkova and 2016 runner-up Svitolina meet in the first all-Russian final.

But not to be outdone by their Central American neighbours to the north, both Canada and Colombia opened their tennis championships to mixed results.

Puerto Rican Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez replaced injured Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the women’s draw and rolled over her Serbian opponent Jelena Jankovic 6-1 6-3, while German Benjamin Becker, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka and Australia’s Bernard Tomic were all eliminated.

Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo triumphed over Paraguay’s Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in the men’s singles event, where Japan’s seventh seed Kei Nishikori prevailed over defending champion Milos Raonic of Canada.

Colombia’s Robert Farah, who eliminated reigning champion and top seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez from the US, defeated Argentine Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-2 in the only men’s singles quarter-final.

The top two seeds, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, were not eligible to compete due to a partnership that puts forth the US$700,000 winners’ prize.

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