Fed Cup: Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic seal the deal for Switzerland against France

Fed Cup: Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic seal the deal for Switzerland against France

After Timea Bacsinszky gave Switzerland the lead on day two, Belinda Bencic followed suit to complete an overall 4-1 win.

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Pavitra Ganesan

After day one of action, the tie was level at 1-1 courtesy of wins from Timea Bacsinszky and Kristina Mladenovic. Day two saw both players take on each other in a tight match. There was little to separate the two in the first set but it was the Swiss who edged in the tiebreak. However, she faded slightly in the second set allowing Mladenovic to force a decider. The decider was a close affair as well but Bacsinszky was able to find a way in the end and went to seal a 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5 victory to give Switzerland a 2-1 lead after a grueling three hours and 20 minutes.

In a must-win match that followed, France made a nomination change bringing on Pauline Parmentier for Alizé Cornet. The Frenchwoman, however, barely made a breakthrough in the first set against Belinda Bencic. The Swiss miss showed composure even in the second set when Parmentier threatened on a few occasions. Eventually, Parmentier was broken late on allowing Bencic to complete the win for Switzerland.

Tight affair between Bacsinszky and Mladenovic

It was a tough first few holds for both women. However, both showed resilience each time when facing break points and were able to hold onto their serve. As expected, the set went to an eventual tiebreak with Bacsinszky drawing first blood after a huge forehand and served to extend her lead to 4-2. Mladenovic though immediately responded and level the tiebreak 4-4. However, subsequent errors handed the advantage back to the Swiss who went on to take the first set.

Bacsinszky edges the first set | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Bacsinszky edges the first set | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the second set, it was evident the Frenchwoman wanted it slightly more. She was not afraid to go for her shots and carved out break points in every service game of the Swiss’. Bacsinszky fought hard to fend her off but eventually caved in the fifth game as her own level dipped. Mladenovic was stamping her authority in the match and threatened to break once more but the Swiss kept herself in the set. It was not enough though as the Frenchwoman closed out the set to force a decider.

Mladenovic bounces back strongly | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Mladenovic bounces back strongly | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the decider, the Swiss regrouped and was the first to break. Mladenovic though broke right back and when she had game point to level the set for 4-4, Bacsinszky had a nasty tumble and play was interrupted mid-game for her to have a medical time out. That time out seemingly played to the Swiss advantage as she prevented the Frenchwoman from leveling as she broke her serve to take the lead. Momentum seemed to have shifted to the Swiss who led 5-2 but Mladenovic was not done yet, breaking Bacsinszky’s serve at 4-5 as the Swiss was serving for the match. She fought hard to level the match 5-5 but on her serve at 5-6 down, gave away some cheap points allowing Bacsinszky to triumph after more than three hours.

Bacsinszky gives Switzerland the lead | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Bacsinszky gives Switzerland the lead | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bencic gets the better of Parmentier

From the get go, Bencic was imposing her control from the baseline forcing Parmentier back and making her do all the running. The Swiss raced to a 3-1 lead before the Frenchwoman stopped the rot to get herself on the scoreboard. Bencic continued her dominance and almost earned the double break but Parmentier stood firm to deny the Swiss the cushion break. That only break was enough though for Bencic to see out the set.

Parmentier struggles to make headway | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Parmentier struggles to make headway | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Parmentier went toe to toe with the Bencic in the second set coming up with some great shots of her own. She carved out chances to break the Swiss’ serve for the first time in the match but Bencic showed her resilience too, saving a couple of break points to level to 2-2. The Frenchwoman who was holding serve pretty well let the pressure get to her in the crucial ninth game. She saved one of the break opportunities but on the second the net played a cruel joke on her favoring the Swiss allowing Bencic to get that all-important break and lead. And Bencic made no mistake to seal the win and send Switzerland to the semifinals.

Bencic seals the win for Switzerland | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Bencic seals the win for Switzerland | Photo: Robert Hradil/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Swiss end the day with win in the dead doubles rubber

The Swiss pairing of Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis took on Mladenovic and Amandine Hesse in the dead rubber. It was the Swiss who ran out straight-sets winners winning 6-4, 6-4 to cap off an excellent day.

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