Great Britain Suffer Fed Cup Heartbreak In Japan - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Great Britain Suffer Fed Cup Heartbreak In Japan

Great Britain lost their Fed Cup Play-Off 3-2 to Japan after defeat in the deciding doubles. Konta beat Osaka and Watson lost to Nara.

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Great Britain missed their chance to qualify for the Fed Cup World Group for the first time since 1993 as they lost their Play-Off 3-2 to Japan.

It was 1-1 going into the second day, and the scores stayed level after Johanna Konta beat Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-3 and Kurumi Nara defeated Heather Watson 7-6(7) 6-4.

Konta and Watson then lost the deciding doubles 6-3 3-6 3-6 to Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya to ensure their long wait to return to the elite 16 of the Fed Cup goes on.

“We are gutted about the result. One day our opportunity will come,” Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong told BBC Sport.

“If you keep knocking on the door, it will eventually open. It wasn’t to be this year but who is to say it won’t be next year?”

“We have to recognise the effort we have put in the last two years getting out of the zone,” Konta added. “People underestimate the task it is to get out of that Euro-Africa group.”

“Some of the best nations are in that group, when you look at the depth of the other zonal groups around the world. I’m very proud of the fact we keep putting ourselves in this position.”

Konta shines

Britain started the day in fine style as Konta produced a stunning display to beat Indian Wells champion Osaka in straight sets.

The 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist struck the ball accurately and aggressively and remained rock-solid on her serve throughout as she won 74% of points on her first serve and 59% behind her second.

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This ensured Konta only faced two break points in the match. It also enabled her to swing freely against Osaka’s serve, and in game seven she did exactly that.

After the Japanese double-faulted, the Briton crunched a forehand to draw an error. She then twice pinned Osaka behind the baseline with a series of very deep groundstrokes to earn break point and seal the break.

It was a crucial moment for Konta, and she rode a wave of momentum for the rest of the match. She broke the Japanese again in game nine to finish the first set, and maintained her intensity in the second set to take it 6-3.

Watson falters

Unfortunately for Britain, Watson was unable to capitalise on her teammate’s excellent win as she lost to Nara in disappointing fashion.

It was comfortably the lowest-quality match of the tie as neither player was able to exert any kind of control on their serve.

After Watson and Nara both broke twice in the opening seven games, the Briton earned a chance to serve for the set by getting a third break in game eight.

However, Watson has lost nine of her last 11 matches and her lack of confidence showed as she played the game very poorly to lose her serve to love.

The Briton’s failure to close out the set led to a tie-break, and she seemed determined to put her troubles behind as she hit a couple of excellent winners en route to a 6-3 lead.

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But the good times did not last as Watson was unable to take any of her three set points and ultimately lost the tie-break 9-7.

She looked understandably dejected by that outcome and rapidly fell 3-0 behind in the second set. The Briton recovered well to level the score, but once again she failed to take advantage of the momentum.

Watson made a sloppy error and a double-fault to gift Nara two break points in game eight. She saved one with a big serve, but surrendered the second with a poor backhand that went wide.

Nara’s nerves defeated her and she handed the Briton a two break points and a lifeline in the match. Watson grabbed the second with a brilliant backhand into the corner.

But there was one last cruel twist left as Nara played good, aggressive tennis to break the British No.2 for the sixth time in the match and clinch a vital win for Japan.

Doubles disappointment

That put all of the pressure on the final doubles rubber, and the greater doubles experience of Kato and Ninomiya made all the difference in the end as they fought back from a set down to win.

Konta and Watson produced some excellent tennis to come back from 0-2 and win the first set 6-3. The higher-ranked Briton served well and her partner looked sharp at the net.

However, Konta and Watson made a terrible start to the second set and slipped down 5-0. The British pair got one break back but the damage had been done and the confidence of the Japanese pair rose steadily as they took the second set 6-3.

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The deciding set was close and went with serve for the first six games. However, Kato and Ninomiya nearly gained the advantage in game five when they earned four break points.

They did not manage to break through on that occasion, but Konta and Watson should have heeded the warning as they went on to lose their next two service games and, consequently, the match and the tie.

 

 

 

Fed Cup

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico

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SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals

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Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic

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Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/

Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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