U.S. wins 2022 junior Billie Jean King Cup, finishes runner-up at junior Davis Cup

Victoria Chiesa | November 06, 2022

For the fourth time in five years, the United States is the junior Billie Jean King Cup champion. The Americans' 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Sunday not only crowned them winners, but closed a successful week in Antalya, Turkey for the next generation of U.S. talent overall; the U.S. junior Davis Cup team also reached the final, and finished as runners-up to Brazil. 


Valerie Glozman and Clervie Ngounoue led the U.S. to victory with two dominant singles wins; Glozman, the reigning USTA Girls' 18s national runner-up, opened proceedings with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Lucie Urbanova, before Ngounoue put a bow on the tie with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tereza Valentova.

Ngounoue's title-winning performance was a snapshot of her whole week in Turkey; she went undefeated in her seven completed matches and lost just one set between singles and doubles. In a 3-0 win over Germany in the quarterfinals, Ngounoue came from a set down to beat Sonja Zhiyenbayeva 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and clinch that tie. 


“To win the decisive point for USA was an unbelievable feeling,” Ngounoue told's Ross McLean after the Americans' victory on Sunday. “It was a feeling like no other."


Ngounoue came into the match slotted in 29 places lower in the rankings than Valentova, but showed the kind of form that took her to the girls' doubles title at the Australian Open, and a career-high ranking of No. 10, earlier this year. The Billie Jean King Cup was only the fourth junior event of the season for the 16-year-old Washington, D.C. native; she spent parts of this year sidelined with a foot injury, and has also been testing the waters in women's events since her return.


Last month, she reached the final of the W25 ITF/USTA Pro Circuit event in Austin, Texas after reaching the quarterfinals of the junior US Open. She joins a roll of honor of U.S. junior Billie Jean King Cup champions that includes Amanda Anisimova, Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend.


“I was so glad to bring it home," Ngounoue continued. "I tried not to think of the end, I just tried to take it point by point. I was thinking of the entire team. This wasn’t just for me and the USA, but the three girls and three boys I came here with.


“The whole week has been insane, and I am so blessed to have such an amazing team. The support and chemistry within the group is what really took us so far and it is going to suck to leave each other. It has been an unbelievable week with an unbelievable atmosphere.”


The eventual champions were dominant from the start of the week; the girls' team, which also included 14-year-old Iva Jovic, went perfect in Group A round-robin play against Colombia, Thailand and host Turkey. Not only did the Americans win all three matches 3-0, but they lost only one set out of 19 played and dropped just 37 games.

“Team spirit is so important,” Ngounoue told McLean earlier in the tournament. “You never know who you are going to get and I didn’t really know either of the girls before this. I had perhaps met Iva briefly at the US Open, but I didn’t know her.


“It is such a blessing to have teammates that you can count on and while we don’t agree on everything, the support and love we have for each other is there all the time. The confidence we have in each other is what is keeping us going and pushing us through."


Ngounoue also said she hopes that junior success foreshadows the same at professional level; calling in live from Glasgow, Scotland—where they'll begin play at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals on Wednesday—U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi and Townsend sent the team a special message after their victory


"We will be rooting for you from home," Ngounoue said. 

The U.S. was bidding for its first sweep of the junior Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup titles since 2014. After finishing second out of Group D, beating Turkey and Argentina but losing to Japan, the boys' team of Alexander Razeghi, Kaylan Bigun and Meecah Bigun defeated the Czech Republic and France to reach the final. Unlike the Billie Jean King Cup team, though, the boys' squad battled to reach the final; they won deciding doubles rubbers to defeat all of Argentina, Turkey and France in the semifinals—the last of which came down to a match tiebreak.


On Sunday, Brazil looked fresh, and swept both singles matches in a 2-0 final to win its first junior Davis Cup title. Gustavo Ribeiro de Almeida defeated Meecah Bigun in the first match, 7-6(6), 6-0, before Joao Fonseca defeated Kaylan Bigun 6-4, 6-1 to clinch the title.

Like their professional counterparts, the junior Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup are the flagship international team tennis competition, and players aged 16-and-under represent their nations on teams. The U.S. performance this year increased its all-time haul of medals to 14 at the junior Billie Jean King Cup, with a record seven titles, and 12 total medals in junior Davis Cup.

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