Johanna Konta picked herself up off the floor – literally – to beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6(1) 3-6 6-2 to seal a 2-0 victory for Great Britain over Serbia.
The Brit, 27, won the third set after an extraordinary moment between sets when she fell to the ground on the walkway leading to the court and looked very unwell.
For a time it seemed like she would not continue, and the BT sport commentators speculated about who would take part in the decisive doubles.
However, Konta returned and somehow managed to play good enough tennis to win the decider 6-2.
“I’m feeling pretty rubbish but it’s okay,” the British No.1 said in her on-court interview. “Honestly, the only thought I had was that if it was me out here then it would be another obstacle (for Krunic).”
“I had to make sure she had to win it. I had to understand my limitations quickly and try to bring the most out of myself with what I had.”
Konta continued, “I zoned in on looking at the ball which enabled me to strike it and place it where I wanted to.”
When the Brit went down a break early in the first set, it looked like she might have to mount another comeback and win in three sets.
However, she quickly put a stop to that kind of thinking by breaking back in game four and then trading blows with Krunic for the rest of a very even first set.
It concluded with four consecutive breaks of serve and a brilliant tie-break from Konta when she did everything right to win it 7-1.
The second set was closely-fought once again until the Brit visibly started to struggle from 3-3 onwards. She eventually lost it 6-3 and it soon became obvious that she was exhausted.
Boulter produces a classy display to beat Jorovic
Katie Boulter continued her perfect start to her Fed Cup career with an excellent performance to beat Ivana Jorovic 6-4 6-3.
The Brit, 22, played aggressively from the start as she sought to avoid another lengthy three-set encounter after competing in long matches on both of the last two days.
And her approach worked wonders as she stormed into a 3-0 lead courtesy of two breaks of Jorovic’s serve.
The Serb fought her way into it by getting one of the breaks back and then trading breaks with Boulter, but the Brit served well after that and wrapped up the set 6-4.
It was a closer contest for much of the second set and the scores were level after six games. But the World No.83 then found another gear and won the next three games – despite obvious fatigue – through a potent combination of big-hitting and determination to clinch victory.
“Oh my God, I’m close to tears right now,” Boulter said in her on-court interview. “It’s been a really long week.”
“I knew this match would be really tough. I grew up with Ivana so I knew she was a very good player and I was going to have to bring some of my best game out.”
The Brit continued, “It means everything and so much more (to win four matches for my team). I put everything on the court and so much heart. It means so much to me.”
“I spent a long time off the court (due to illness) and it made me realise how much I love the game. If you stick at something and do the best you can, I think literally anything is possible.”
Captain Anne Keothavong pays tribute to her stars and the fans
“It has been an unforgettable week,” Keothavong said in an on-court interview. “Everyone has made it so special for the team.”
“The guts, the courage by Jo and Katie today… Physically, if I could tell you what’s going on behind the scenes!”
“These girls are so strong. I don’t know what to say. I’m just so proud.”
Fed Cup Finals Draw: Australia And Czech Republic Given Tricky Tests In Budapest
Australia and Czech Republic have been handed difficult draws for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.
Australia and Czech Republic have been given tricky draws ahead of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest.
The event in Hungary takes place on the 14th-19th of April on clay to prepare players for the clay-court season that will approach.
In the inaugural event there are 12 nations competing for the Fed Cup title with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals.
Ahead of April’s Fed Cup finale, the draw was announced today which has seen some mouth-watering matches set to take place.
Last year’s finalist’s Australia are in Group B and they have been given tricky tests against a strong Belarus team and Belgium.
Belarus have Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Victoria Azarenka at their disposal while Belgium will be lead by Elise Mertens.
Meanwhile the other group in their half of the draw will see Czech Republic will face tough tests against Germany and a Switzerland team lead by Belinda Bencic.
On the other side of the draw, defending champions France will look to successfully defend their title when they face Russia and hosts Hungary.
Given the scenarios, this is a fairly good draw for France who would regard clay as their strongest surface and are favourites to make the last four.
In the last four, France could play USA who have been drawn with Spain and Slovakia who beat Great Britain in last weekend’s qualifiers.
Here is the full draw with the full round-robin schedule for April’s finals set to be released on Monday:
Winner of Group A v Winner of Group C
Winner of Group B v Winner of Group D
Great Britain Handed Mexican Away Trip In Fed Cup Play-Off Draw
Great Britain face another away tie as they travel to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Offs.
Great Britain have been handed an away trip to Mexico in the Fed Cup Play-Off draw as they look to compete in next year’s qualifiers.
The Brits, who were without Johanna Konta in their 3-1 defeat away to Slovakia, will now head to Mexico in April looking to avoid being relegated to Zone Group I.
Just like their tie in Bratislava, they are likely to be without Johanna Konta who has one eye on the Olympic Games and also like their tie this past weekend the tie will probably be on clay.
However this time the British team will be favourites to make next year’s Fed Cup qualifiers as the Mexican don’t have a single Women’s singles player in the top 200.
There will be eight Fed Cup play-offs which will be played on the 17th and 18th of April, with the eight winners joining eight teams from the Fed Cup finals.
14 of the 16 teams are confirmed with the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I still needed to be played in early March in Dubai after the Coronavirus epidemic meant that China couldn’t host the event in February.
Here is the full Fed Cup play-off draw:
(C) = Choice of Ground
Brazil v Poland (C)
Great Britain v Mexico (C)
Canada v Serbia (C)
Latvia (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
Japan (C) v Ukraine
Romania (C) v Italy
Kazakhstan v Argentina (C)
Netherlands (C) v Asia/Oceania Nation TBC
Captain Benneteau ‘Proud’ After France Seal First Fed Cup For 16 Years
Kristina Mladenovic won both the matches she was involved with to seal the Fed Cup title for France.
France’s Fed Cup captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride after France edged out Australia 3-2 in the Fed Cup final.
The visitors claimed their first Fed Cup title for 16 years in Perth after Kristina Mladenovic won both of the matches she was involved with.
It all started after Mladenovic produced one of the greatest wins of her career by edging out world number one Ash Barty 2-6 6-4 7-6(1) in the first match of the day.
Both players had convincing wins on day one and it was the Australian who started the strongest, claiming the first set 6-2.
However Mladenovic struck back in the second set with a crucial break at 5-4 as she closed out the set to force a decider.
There was a lot of momentum shifts in the deciding set but eventually the world number 40 dominated the tiebreak to seal a shock win and a 2-1 lead for France.
Australia hit back in the second rubber of the day as Ajla Tomljanovic produced a solid performance to defeat Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5.
After a convincing loss in day one, Tomljanovic produced stunning shot-making to redeem herself and score her first Fed Cup win as an Australian.
The deciding rubber was a highly-anticipated doubles match between Ash Barty and Sam Stosur taking on Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
All four players had a combined total of 13 doubles grand slam titles as Australia had a good start to the match but lacked clinical edge after that.
The French team took advantage as they won the last two games of the opening set and the first two games of the second set.
This allowed them to control the tempo and when Stosur hit a volley long, the celebrations could start as they sealed a 6-4 6-3 win.
After the match, Captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride at his French side, “I’m the proudest man on the planet right now,” Benneteau claimed.
“I’m so proud of my girls and the team, they deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title. It’s a dream for me. I tried to imagine that at the beginning of the year when I knew that I could have the best team with me on the court. Eight months later, here we are.”
The win means it’s France’s third Fed Cup triumph overall and their first since 2003, with Kristina Mladenovic winning all three of the matches she was involved with.
As for Australia, it was emotional scenes as Barty didn’t seem to have enough in the tank to edge the Aussies over the finish line.
This final also means its the last traditional final as the format will now to change a one-week 12 team contest which will take place next April in Budapest.
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