Australia captain Alicia Molik said a first Billie Jean King Cup since 1974 is “for the taking” after seeing off hosts Great Britain in a nail-biting finish to reach Sunday’s final against Switzerland.
The Brits had defied the odds with a whitewash of Spain on Thursday to reach the last four for the first time in 41 years in front of a home crowd in Glasgow.
But Australia’s experience paid off as the final doubles clash went to a champions tie-break won by Storm Sanders and Sam Stosur.
The seven-time winners missed out on the title in 2019, when they lost in front of a home crowd to France.
“We’ve got the team to get through tomorrow,” said Molik.
“We’re still making up for the final we lost a couple of years ago, we know what that feels like. But we’re optimistic, we’re a team, we’ve got great support, so it’s ours for the taking.”
Aussie great Rennae Stubbs wrote on Twitter: “So proud of the girls! What a great match. What a week! Into the BJK Cup finals.”
She congratulated Stosur and called Sanders “this week’s MVP”.
Sanders dampened the enthusiasm of the Glasgow crowd as she saw off Heather Watson 6-4 7-6 (7/3) to take the opening rubber.
But Harriet Dart followed up her victory over 13th-ranked Paula Badosa by upsetting world number 33 Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 to take it to the wire.
Doubles duo Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls have been the revelation of the week for the hosts on their international debut, but they were just unable to conjure a third victory, losing out 7-6 (7/1) 6-7 (5/7), 10-6.
“God we were close,” said British captain Anne Keothavong.
“I’m just gutted for everyone right now but also I think we have to try and keep things in perspective. What a fantastic week it really has been for the team.”
Switzerland are aiming to go one better than losing last year’s final to Russia as the 11-time champion Czechs were humbled.
Viktorija Golubic saw off Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-4 before Belinda Bencic won the battle of the number ones against Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 7-6 (8/6).