Australia reach Billie Jean King Cup semis, Canada thump Italy

Australia reach Billie Jean King Cup semis, Canada thump Italy

Australia became the first team to reach the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup after brushing aside Belgium on Thursday, while Canada thumped Italy to set up a crunch clash with Switzerland.

Storm Sanders dispatched Alison van Uytvanck 6-2 6-2 and Ajla Tomljanovic rallied from a set and a break down before Elise Mertens retired injured while trailing 4-6 6-4 3-0 to earn Australia their second Group B win, after they saw off Slovakia in the opening tie.

Sanders returned to court and teamed up with Sam Stosur, seeing off Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 6-3 to complete the clean sweep.

Canada also won by a 3-0 score against Italy after Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Fernandez claimed impressive singles victories to help them get their campaign off to a perfect start.

Andreescu overturned a 5-2 deficit in the first set and battled back from 2-0 down in the second to beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6(3) 6-3, while Fernandez thrashed Martina Trevisan 6-0 6-0 in only 44 minutes.

Fernandez carried that ruthless streak into the doubles, joining forces with Gabriela Dabrowski to beat Lucia Bronzetti and Jasmine Paolini 6-1 6-1.

Canada will take on Switzerland, who swept Italy 3-0 on Wednesday, in their final Group A tie on Friday, with the winner advancing to the semi-finals.

Spain will play Britain in Group C while the Czech Republic will take on Poland in Group D later on Thursday.

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