Wednesday, January 24, 2018 | ePaper

‘Big sister' Hingis looks to end 20-year Fed Cup wait

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AFP, Paris :
Martina Hingis looks to reach a first Fed Cup final in almost two decades when Switzerland face Belarus with the former world number one revelling in her role as the team's "big sister".
Hingis, 36 and a five-time Grand Slam singles champion, was just 17 when she and Switzerland were defeated 3-2 by Spain in the 1998 final.
Hingis won both her singles rubbers in that tie but lost the key doubles alongside Patty Schnyder.
Since then, she has retired and made two comebacks, carving out a successful career as a doubles specialist, even managing to claim a silver medal alongside compatriot Timea Bacsinszky at the Rio Olympics last year.
Hingis will play just doubles in Minsk on Sunday although that could prove a decisive mission against a Belarus squad who are making their semi-final debut.
"In the Fed Cup, I am like the big sister now," admitted Hingis. "My role is different these days but we are a strong team with a great spirit."
Switzerland made the semi-finals by defeating two-time champions France while Belarus shocked the Netherlands despite the continued absence of former world number one Victoria Azarenka who has taken a break from the sport after giving birth to her first child.
The Swiss, playing in back-to-back Fed Cup semi-finals, will start favourites.
Bacsinszky is the tie's top singles player, ranked at 22 in the world, with Viktorjia Golubic at 54.
Injury-plagued Belinda Bencic is now down at 129 but was as high as seven in February last year.
By contrast, Belarus's top player is Aliaksandra Sasnovich, ranked 96 with Aryna Sabalenka at 125 and Olga Govortsova, contesting her 31st Fed Cup tie, down at 147.

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