Canada got off to a winning start at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, defeating Italy 3-0 after two impressive singles victories for Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Fernandez in Group A.
Meanwhile, Australia became the first team to qualify for the semifinals, finishing on top of Group B thanks to a 3-0 clean sweep of Belgium.
Andreescu overturned a 5-2 first-set deficit, saving one set point, and also came back from 2-0 down in the second set to beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6(3), 6-3 in 1 hour and 51 minutes. Taking the ball early and holding their baseline positions, the pair engaged in numerous high-octane exchanges, with Cocciaretto keeping her nose in front through the first seven games.
But at 5-2, the World No.65 squandered a set point after sending a forehand long, and former US Open champion Andreescu needed no further encouragement to begin the comeback. A ferocious return winner paved the way to breaking Cocciaretto back in the next game, and fine net play enabled her to take control of the tiebreak.
Andreescu also came up with her finest shot-making to break Cocciaretto back at the start of the second set, coming up with a delightful lob en route to levelling at 2-2 before pulling away for the win.
Fernandez backed up Andreescu, whitewashing Martina Trevisan 6-0, 6-0 in just 44 minutes. The last time they had met was in this year's Roland Garros quarterfinals, which Trevisan won 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3.
In that match, Fernandez sustained a foot fracture which sidelined her for the next two months. Healthy and competing on a faster surface, the former US Open finalist's revenge was emphatic and swift. Fernandez conceded just four points in the first set, and 15 in total. Trevisan held game points only once, at the start of the second set.
No.40-ranked Fernandez tallied 14 winners to eight unforced errors, while Trevisan racked up 26 unforced errors to only four winners. The result was Fernandez's second double bagel at pro level following her defeat of Ana Sofia Sánchez in Naples ITF W25 qualifying in 2017.
Fernandez was no less ruthless in doubles, where she teamed up with Gabriela Dabrowski to dismiss Lucia Bronzetti and Jasmine Paolini 6-1, 6-1 in 46 minutes. Day 4 will see Canada take on Switzerland in the final Group A rubber, with the winner advancing to the semifinals.
Australia already had one Group B win under its belts prior to Day 3, having defeated Slovakia 2-1 on Day 1, but needed another after Slovakia then beat Belgium 2-1 on Day 2. Storm Sanders continued her stellar Billie Jean King Cup form to notch her second straight-sets win of the week, besting Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour and 13 minutes. It was No.237-ranked Sanders' first Top 60 win since her upset of Elise Mertens exactly one year ago at the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
Ajla Tomljanovic then sealed Australia's semifinal place after Elise Mertens retired trailing 4-6, 6-4, 3-0. Belgian No.1 Mertens had not competed in singles on Day 2 due to her late arrival in Glasgow after winning the WTA Finals doubles trophy in Fort Worth last week. But in a must-win rubber for Belgium, she was sharp in taking a 6-4, 4-1 lead over Ajla Tomljanovic. Mertens had captured the double break lead in the second set with an exquisite lob, and was handily out-manoeuvring the Australian in longer exchanges.
But three points for a 5-1 lead went begging after one searing Tomljanovic return and a pair of Mertens double faults. The latter were an increasing feature of her game as her lead evaporated. Another pair led to the loss of her insurance break, and she racked up 10 in total.
Trailing 5-4 in the second set, Mertens received treatment on her right shoulder, and after losing eight straight games conceded the rubber.
Sanders joined forces with Samantha Stosur to complete the sweep, defeating Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-3.