Latecomer Canada sprung an opening day surprise Monday on titleholder France as the Billie Jean King Cup play got underway in Prague.

The Canadians, last team to qualify into the 12-nation field, emerged with a 2-1 margin as No. 353 Francoise Abanda beat Fiona Ferro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and Rebrecca Marino and Gabri Dabrowski defeated the French pair of Alize Cornet and Clara Burel 6-3, 7-6(6).

The French got a point through Cornet’s win over Marino 6-4, 7-6(5). It was Canada’s first win over France in the (old Fed Cup) competition since 1980.

“To be the 12th team here and to beat the No. 1 is obviously incredible. I think we should be really proud of ourselves,” the 148th-ranked Marino said,

“As a team we came together and fought with a lot of heart and I think it showed today.” 

Abanda, with limited Tour experience, has now won her last five team matches. The Canadian pulled through a case of COVID this season.

 “I haven’t played many tournaments but for me to be here is like perfect,” she said, “I’m one of the lowest-ranked players here so I really have no pressure. 

“My opponent was ranked way higher than me, so I’m just trying to get  momentum, get matches. This is a good start, so hopefully I can keep going.” 

Main photo:- Alize Cornet won her singles match – by Daniel Kopatsch/Paul Zimmer

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