London | Ostapenko leads Latvia to BJK Cup Group win but Wozniacki withdraws due to illness

Billie Jean King Cup play is already under way in the regional Group stages this week, which are divided into regions: Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe.

At Group I and II level, Europe and Africa are merged to form Europe/Africa. Group I is the highest regional division and Group IV the lowest.

Group events are week-long, played at one location, with each initially split into round-robin pools, followed by play-offs to decide promotion and relegation.

Australian Open runner-up Zheng Qinwen, World No 6 Maria Sakkari and Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko are among the players named in their nations’ squads for Group I.

Former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki also is named as part of Denmark’s team for the first time since returning to the Tour last year, while other elite players include Arantxa Rus (Netherlands), Clara Tauson (Denmark) and Viktoria Tomova (Bulgaria).

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki retired ill against Sinja Krauss from Austria in Pool A on Monday

© Elsa/Getty Images

Competition is fierce at the Europe/Africa Group I event in Lisbon, Portugal, with Sakkari leading the Greek team, while World No 10 Ostapenko represents Latvia.

Ostapenko came through a close encounter with Francisca Jorge to win 6-4 4-6 7-6(4) in 2 hours and 44 minutes on Monday to clinch the winning point for Latvia against hosts Portugal on the opening day in Oerias.

Latvia finished the first day at the top of Pool B, thanks to a 3-0 win over Portugal, with the Netherlands sitting in 2nd place after coming through 2-1 against Turkiye.

The format in this year’s Europe/Africa Group I event is such that there are 3 pools, in which teams compete in an initial round-robin phase.

The teams finishing top of their pools win a place in November’s Play-offs.

Since there are 4 promotion spots on offer, the final position is available to one of the teams finishing in 2nd place in the initial pool stage.

In Pool A, Austria and Hungary are joint-top after 2-1 wins against Denmark and Bulgaria respectively.

Wozniacki’s come-back to the BJK Cup derailed as the Dane retired from her match against Sinja Krauss, due to illness, after losing 7 games in a row, 6-0, 0-1.

This was the first time that Wozniacki had participated in the competition since her return from retirement in 2023.

In Pool C, Serbia are sitting in pole position thanks to a 3-0 victory against Norway, while Greece are in 2nd place after defeating Sweden 2-1.

Click HERE for full results from Europe/Africa Group I.

Egypt's Mayar Sherif and teammate Sandra Samir dropped just 3 games in their 3 rubbers against Malta in the Europe/Africa Group II event in Vilnius

Meanwhile, Egypt and Israel both finished the first day’s play at the Europe/Africa Group II event in Vilnius with a perfect 3 wins from 3 matches.

Sandra Samir and Mayar Sherif dropped just 3 games in the 2 singles matches as Egypt proved too strong for Malta.

Israel were similarly ruthless with 3 straight-set victories in their tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There were also wins for North Macedonia, hosts Lithuania and Kosovo on the opening day at the SEB Arena.

Click HERE for full results from Europe/Africa Group II.

The third Group I event is the Americas Group I, which is being hosted in Bogota, Colombia, where the home team’s Camila Osorio and Argentina’s Lourdes Carles are the highest-ranked players.



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