Slovenia reach Billie Jean King Cup finals
Slovenia achieved an unlikely comeback to defeat Romania and reach the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, where the twelve best women's tennis teams in the world will compete in November.
Playing in front of the home crowd in Koper, Slovenia were down 0:2 after the first day of singles but equalised on the second day as Tamara Zidanšek defeated Ana Bogdan 3:6, 7:6 (4), 7:5 and Kaja Juvan beat Jaqueline Adina Cristian in straight sets 6:2, 6:4
The deciding doubles match was suspended due to bad weather when the score was 3:3. As the match continued on 16 April the Slovenians lost the first set but then delivered a clean 6:2 and 6:4 to clinch the match.
This is the biggest achievement for Slovenian women's tennis after the team made the top eight in 2003 at what was then called the Fed Cup.
"It's incredible what we've achieved. Yesterday we were just two points from defeat, today we're celebrating a historical success. I'm proud to be a member of this team," said Zidanšek, who is currently 53rd in the WTA ratings.
Juvan, ranked 467th, said the key point was when Zidanšek won her singles match. "Since then I was filled with adrenaline, the public rose up and carried us to victory. I'm only just now realising what we've achieved," she said.
The 23-year-old said this was the greatest achievement of her career. "We're a real team and we breathe as one. We're together when we're losing and together when we're winning," she added.
Coach Andrej Kraševec beamed with pride as he noted that in just five seasons Slovenia had gone from fighting for survival in the 2nd Euro-African group to the final tournament.
"Six years ago I told the leadership of the tennis association that Zidanšek and Juvan would score points for the finals. And now they are indeed the ones who made Slovenia a part of the elite of world tennis," he said.