Glasgow (Scotland), Spain completed a clean sweep of Kazakhstan 3-0 and the USA edged Poland 2-1 on thrilling Day 2 at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, here on Thursday.
All four singles rubbers in the evening session went to three sets. In Group C, Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Paula Badosa both came from a break down in the deciding set to take a pair of top-quality clashes over Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) and Elena Rybakina 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 respectively.
Parrizas Diaz raced out to a quick 5-1 lead over an unsettled Putintseva. But once the No.51-ranked Kazakh, who had come from a set down to defeat Katie Boulter on Day 1, found her groove, she appeared to be on the way to a second straight comeback.
Putintseva won 11 of the next 14 games -- too late to salvage the first set, but enough to take a 2-0 lead in the third -- thanks to creative point construction and pinpoint accuracy, even from defensive positions.
But Parrizas Diaz held her nerve through a series of tight deuce games, aiming for the corners relentlessly with her hard, flad strokes. Of the World No.72's 39 total winners, 21 came in the third set. Even when she was unable to convert two match points serving at 5-4, Parrizas Diaz remained committed to her strategy.
In the ensuing tiebreak, Putintseva saved another two match points with a pair of bullet winners down the line, but Parrizas Diaz converted her sixth opportunity after 2 hours and 40 minutes as a Putintseva forehand went wide.
Badosa brought a 3-1 record against Rybakina into the tie's second rubber, and for the third time in their rivalry came away with a three-set win in which she had dropped the middle set. A serving masterclass in which the World No.13 landed 67 per cent of her first serves and won 100 per cent of those points enabled her to seal a dominant first set.
By contrast, Rybakina's 30 percent first serve percentage in the opener could only get better -- and once it did, the Wimbledon champion had a foothold in the match. The second set saw just one break point between the pair, converted by Rybakina for a decisive 5-3 lead as Badosa's backhand broke down.
But up a break in the third set, it was Rybakina's forehand that began to go awry. She committed 18 unforced errors in the decider compared to eight in the second set, while Badosa rediscovered her dynamic form of the first set to seal a win on her Billie Jean King Cup debut in 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Spain completed their clean sweep in the third doubles rubber as Badosa joined Aliona Bolsova to defeat Putintseva and Anna Danilina 6-4, 6-2. Group C will conclude on Day 3 with Spain taking on Great Britain. All three teams can still potentially advance to the semifinals.
In the first tie to be decided by the third doubles rubber, Coco Gauff and Caty McNally reunited for the first time since Miami to seal victory for the USA, routing Magda Linette and Alicja Rosolska 6-1, 6-2 in just 47 minutes.
Earlier, Danielle Collins had held a valiant Magdalena Frech off 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) in 2 hours and 9 minutes. In a classic battle of offense versus defense, Collins' frustration boiled over frequently -- but the Australian Open finalist capped the match with a near-flawless performance in the deciding tiebreak.
Linette levelled the tie by pulling away from Madison Keys 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the second singles rubber. Having lost to Keys in straight sets three weeks ago in Guadalajara, Linette reversed that result to notch her third Top 20 win of 2022.