Ajla Tomljanovic is hoping to lead Australia into the knockout semifinals at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Scotland.
A semifinal spot is the prize on offer when Australia faces Belgium in a Billie Jean King Cup Finals showdown today.
Victory in the round-robin tie, played at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, will guarantee Australia’s progression to the competition’s semifinals.
A loss, however, could signal the end of Australia’s 2022 campaign. Belgium would progress to the semifinals with a 3-0 victory, while a 2-1 triumph would result in a countback to determine which nation progresses to the final four.
As Australia prepares for the high-stakes clash, captain Alicia Molik is imploring her team to play with “hunger right from the start”.
|Captain: Alicia Molik
Australia has won six of its previous nine meetings against Belgium in the Billie Jean King Cup competition, including a 2-1 round-robin victory at the 2021 finals in Prague.
Storm Sanders scored her career-first top-20 singles victory in that tie, upsetting Belgian No.1 Elise Mertens (who was ranked No.18 at the time).
“We’ll have to look at match-ups and see who our line-up will be,” Molik said.
“We are familiar with them, really familiar with their team. I feel like being familiar with players certainly helps, because it helps with our game plan, the match-ups. I say that in singles and doubles.”
Mertens once again spearheads Belgium’s team and following a 2-1 loss to Slovakia yesterday, the Belgian team is determined to bounce back strongly.
“We still have a chance,” reasoned Mertens, who arrived late to Glasgow following her title-winning run in doubles at the WTA Finals earlier this week.
The world No.29 subsequently did not play singles in Belgium’s loss to Slovakia, but signalled she could be ready to face Australia.
“We have to discuss it with everyone, who is ready to play, who is maybe less ready to play, but, yeah, it’s definitely an option,” she said.
|Alison Van Uytvanck
|Captain: Johan Van Herck
The Australian team is aiming to advance to a third consecutive semifinal in the competition, a feat last achieved in 1982.
The Billie Jean King Cup Finals are broadcast on the Nine Network in Australia, with coverage beginning from 9pm AEDT.
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