Japan Seals 2024 Billie Jean King Cup Finals Place

Naomi Osaka (photo: Getty Images for ITF)

ITF Press Release, April 13, 2024

Australia and Japan booked their places in November’s Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals in Seville, after sealing respective victories over Mexico and Kazakhstan on day two of their home Qualifier ties.

Nao Hibino‘s 6-4 3-6 7-6(7) victory over Yulia Putinseva in Tokyo – in which she saved four match points – gave Japan an unassailable 3-0 lead, and clinched them a Finals berth for the first time ever.

In Brisbane, 18-year-old Taylah Preston claimed a memorable 6-1 6-1 victory over Marcela Zacarias to seal her nation’s place in Seville on her Billie Jean King Cup debut. A doubles victory for Ellen Perez and Daria Saville capped a 4-0 tie victory for the hosts.

“It was very special to wear the green and gold and win the tie for Australia. Hopefully it is not the last time that I get to wear it,” said Preston. “I was more nervous this morning than I usually am as I am playing for far more than just myself in these ties – I am playing for my team and my country – and I don’t want to let the team down. Walking on the court my stomach was doing weird things, but after a couple of games I loosened up.”

Elsewhere in Le Portel, Emma Raducanu staged a fine comeback to beat Caroline Garcia 3-6 6-3 6-2 and level the France v Great Britain tie at 1-1 at the end of day one. Diane Parry overcame Katie Boulter 6-2 6-0 in the first match of the tie.

“I don’t mind playing against the crowd,” said Raducanu. “They can get as loud as they want. I think that’s a strength of mine. It was great to see so many Union Jacks out here, and great to hear the support of the bench. I’m very happy to have pulled it back and to give the crowd something to cheer for tomorrow.”

World No.1 Iga Swiatek’s commanding victory over Simona Waltert put Poland ahead against 2022 world champions Switzerland in Biel, before Magdalena Frech got the better of Celine Naef in three sets to make it 2-0.

“For sure it wasn’t easy – I felt like she can play like an underdog more with no pressure and with the Swiss crowd support,” said Swiatek. “I knew what I can show and I wanted to just stay solid. Because at the beginning I made a couple of mistakes that changed the momentum a little bit but the key is not to overthink it and not make the same mistakes so I’m glad that I did that at the end.”

Slovakia, USA, Germany and Ukraine lead the remaining four Qualifiers 2-0 – all of which conclude later today.