Canada has been waiting a long time, but on Sunday it got its hands on the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time.
Quebec’s Leylah Fernandez showed her dominance by defeating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 to help Canada defeat Italy 2-0 in the final to claim the top prize.
Fernandez remained perfect in four matches during the tournament and was not threatened by her opponent in this clash that lasted one hour and 39 minutes.
Canada’s best result at this tournament was a semi-final appearance in 1988. Italy, for its part, was looking for its fifth title and first since 2013.
This Canadian victory at the Billie Jean King Cup follows the men’s victory at the 2022 Davis Cup.
Canada took another step towards this first title when young Marina Stakušić continued her success by beating Italy’s Martina Trevisan in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 to give her country a 1-0 lead.
At the age of 18, Stakušić improved her record to 3-1 since the start of the tournament. She suffered her only defeat on Saturday against Barbora Krejčikova, the champion of Roland-Garros 2021.
Stakušić had to show character and calmness against Trevisan on Sunday. After breaking her opponent in the second game of the clash and taking a 4-1 lead, the Canadian lost her serve on two occasions.
Struggling to win the first set, the Italian collapsed and won just four of the next 16 points to take the first set to Stakušić.
Trevisan rallied at the start of the second round, breaking the Canadian in the first round. However, Stakušić gained the advantage thanks to two consecutive breaks and took a 4-2 lead.
Stakušić gave herself four match points at 5-2, but Trevisan managed to resist and force the Canadian to serve for the match. The 18-year-old managed not to concede a point to the Italian in the last game.
Against Paolini, Fernandez started in the fifth game, after being the victim of the first break. She won four consecutive games and won the first set.
The Quebecer repeated that to Paolini in the second set, breaking her in the third game. Fernandez had a chance to serve for the match, but it seemed that her nerves came to the fore and she was broken.
The Italian found the balls again, but despite a 40-15 lead, she let Fernandez win four points in a row, the last of which came on a crosscourt backhand.