It is the battle of the red and white countries as Switzerland takes on the improved Canada Fed Cup team in a mouth-watering clash in the Fed Cup qualifiers, with both teams battling for a precious spot in the Fed Cup Finals held in Budapest two months later. This is the first year in which the world cup of women’s tennis has adopted a similar format to the Davis Cup, with more countries having the opportunity to compete at the highest level of tennis.
Switzerland’s team line-up: Bencic leads the Swiss’ quest
Belinda Bencic will be competing in her first event after making her long-awaited debut in the top-five of the rankings. She has been a frequent participant of Fed Cup, making her debut when she was 15-years-old and owning a 13-6 win-loss record since then. The Swiss will be leading her full-strength team against a strong Canadian team, in what could set up as an intriguing clash.
Jil Teichmann is tipped to make her singles debut for Switzerland during the tie after establishing herself as a top-100 player with two WTA International titles in 2019. Her breakthrough allowed her to reach new heights in her career, including being the second-ranked Swiss currently.
Viktorija Golubic is known as a Fed Cup hero on several occasions, clinching important victories in previous years. Golubic, with her one-handed backhand, owns a negative 4-5 win-loss record in singles rubbers, but all four of her wins came against quality opponents such as Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys, Barbora Strycova and Camila Giorgi. She would be a decent alternative choice for the Swiss captain if needed.
Stefanie Voegele first made her Fed Cup debut in 2005, but her last live singles rubber match came all the way back in 2014 when she was defeated by Virginie Razzano. Currently ranked within the top-100 in singles as well, Voegele can capitalize on the fact that all six of her Fed Cup victories have come indoors, the same conditions that this tie will be played in.
The last nominated player from Switzerland is the veteran Timea Bacsinszky, who is one of the Fed Cup commitment award recipients after her commitment to the tournament. She has played in 27 ties, amassing a 28-25 win-loss record over the years. Although she has not competed professionally since September last year, Bacsinszky’s wealth of experience could prove pivotal in a potential deciding doubles rubber.
Canada’s team line-up: Andreescu spearheads her country’s hope
Canada has also fielded their strongest possible line-up, with US Open champion and world number six Bianca Andreescu leading her country. Andreescu was troubled by a knee injury and was forced to skip the entire Australian swing, but she will be starting her season at Fed Cup as she looks to extend her formidable 10-3 win-loss record in the competition.
17-year-old Leylah Fernandez has been nominated for a Fed Cup tie for the second time in her career, despite just winning the Roland Garros girl’s singles event last year. Labelled as a rising star, Fernandez will be hoping to grab her first win for her country against a higher-ranked opponent.
Former world number five Eugenie Bouchard has always been a threat when she finds her best tennis, although that has not surfaced for most of the past five years. Nonetheless, she has been influential during Fed Cup play as she collected a total of 13 wins as opposed to just four defeats in 10 ties. This will be her first appearance in the event since 2018 and should be a contender to play the singles rubbers considering her credentials.
Should the tie come down to the deciding doubles rubber, which could be likely, Canada has doubles specialist Gabriela Dabrowski in store ready for attack. Ranked seventh currently, Dabrowski is an accomplished doubles player and her experience could be vital if help is needed.
Prediction: Switzerland d. Canada
Possibly still recovering from her injury, Andreescu was not named in the singles line-up when the draw was made on Thursday. Fernandez and Bouchard will be playing singles for Canada, going up against the formidable Bencic and Teichmann, who will be making her singles debut for Switzerland.
Inevitably, Switzerland will be the favourite in the singles matches considering they have the world number five available and it seems like Team Canada would need to overcome many obstacles to find the win here.