World No.1 Iga Swiatek on Saturday won her 19th straight match, leading Poland into the finals of the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup.
Swiatek gave Poland an insurmountable 3-0 lead in their qualifying tie against Romania with a flawless 6-0, 6-0 victory over Andreea Prisacariu. The top-ranked Swiatek converted all six of her break points en route to the 52-minute win.
By adding yet another triumph to her career-best winning streak, Swiatek gained Poland's required third match-win of the week, qualifying her country for the November finals. Twelve nations will compete for the crown in the finals.
The Czech Republic were pushed to the brink before winning their tie 3-2 over Great Britain. The Czechs will head to the finals as the most recent dominant Billie Jean King Cup team. They have won six of the past 10 editions.
On Saturday, Olympic silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova started the Czechs off with a sturdy 6-1, 6-1 win over reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.
Raducanu had played and won her first professional clay-court match on Friday, but the 2019 Roland Garros finalist Vondrousova was too solid on the dirt for the British teenager, prevailing in just over an hour.
Britain's Harriet Dart leveled the tie at 2-2 with a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win over 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova. The Czech teen was down 5-2 in the second set, but saved three match points during a five-game run to steal it. In the end, though, Dart recovered to collect the third set, lining up a decisive doubles match.
In the doubles, Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova teamed up to achieve a 6-1, 7-5 win over Dart and Katie Swan, putting the Czechs through after a nail-biting Saturday. Crafty left-hander Vondrousova finished the week having earned all three of the Czechs' match-wins.
Kazakhstan also clinched a spot in November's finals as Elena Rybakina outlasted Germany's Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a battle between two of the world's Top 20 players.
Kerber broke Rybakina at love for a 5-3 lead in the third set, but Rybakina rebounded, winning the next four games consecutively to give Kazakhstan the win and an unbeatable 3-0 lead for the weekend.
"The match was very difficult," Rybakina said afterward, as reported by the Billie Jean King Cup website. "But I was tuned in. I understood that, of course, we would both fight to the last point."
Four-time champion Italy also qualified for the finals, after Camila Giorgi gave her squad a 3-0 lead over three-time champion France with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Harmony Tan. Giorgi won 62 percent of points returning the Tan serve to ease to victory.
Five-time champion Spain also romped into the November finals. Sara Sorribes Tormo bested Arantxa Rus 6-0, 6-4, giving the Spaniards the determining 3-0 advantage over the Netherlands.
Two North American teams triumphed in the last ties of the day, but they took vastly different paths to get to the finals. Canada wrapped up a quick 3-0 win over Latvia when 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez bested Daniela Vismane 6-2, 6-1 in exactly an hour.
Eighteen-time Billie Jean King Cup champion United States had to work hard to collect its spot in the finals. The Americans, who came into Saturday up 2-0 in matches, held off a powerful comeback by Ukraine before prevailing 3-2.
Ukraine notched upsets by ranking in both of Saturday's singles matches, with Dayana Yastremska defeating Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 and Katarina Zavatska stunning Shelby Rogers by the exact same score line. Zavatska took her first career win over a Top 50 player with the upset.
The tie came down to a decisive doubles match, where Pegula and Asia Muhammad completed the Americans' week with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win against Yastremska and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
Yastremska and Kichenok charged back from a break down in the opener to reach a tiebreak, but Pegula and Muhammad held on in the breaker to take the one-set lead. The Americans eased through the second set without dropping serve.