Johanna Konta Survives Huge Scare To Earn Serbia Play-Off for Great Britain - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

Johanna Konta Survives Huge Scare To Earn Serbia Play-Off for Great Britain

Johanna Konta hung on to secure a tense three-set win over Anna Bondar that booked Great Britain’s place in the play-off against Serbia.

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Johanna Konta (@BritishTennis on Twitter)

Johanna Konta battled to a 6-2 6-7(1) 7-6(4) victory over Anna Bondar to secure Great Britain’s in the play-off against Serbia tomorrow.

The Brit, 27, drew on every ounce of determination to withstand the brilliant assault from the Hungarian in the second and third sets.

It made for a compelling, if predictable, spectacle, as Bondar went for everything when serving and returning. Konta dug in, mixed up her approach and eventually outlasted her.

In the first set, it looked like it would be comfortable win for the British number one when she took the first set against Anna Bondar 6-2 in just 31 minutes.

But nobody foresaw what happened next. The Hungarian, 21, who is ranked 224 in the world and competes almost exclusively in ITF events, raised her level to new heights.

Consequently, the second set was extremely competitive. Bondar saved three break points in the first game and then served impressively to stay level with Konta at 4-4.

The Brit then earned three break points at 0-40 on the Hungarian’s serve and it looked like the match was as good as over.

However, Bondar was having none of it. She saved all three, as well as a fourth, and then held again to take the set into a tie-break.

The Hungarian then played an almost-perfect tie-break. She won it 7-1 in front of an increasingly astonished audience to take the match to a decider.

Konta holds firm amid Bondar onslaught

Nothing much changed in the final set. Bondar carried on playing superbly and Konta stuck with her, and consequently it went all the way to a tie-break once again.

At this stage, the Brit did not take any risks. She hit the ball hard, but well inside the court, and the Hungarian made just enough errors to give Konta a hard-fought win.

“The reason why I was on the ropes was because she played amazing tennis,” the Brit said in her post-match interview.

“I am very fortunate to have come through that. If anything I think it was my experience which got me through which she will get in time.”

Konta continued, “That was just another incredible match after Katie’s. She had a big battle too. I am speechless a little bit. I am still trying to come down from it.”

Boulter shows her fighting spirit again

Katie Boulter (@BritishTennis on Twitter)

Boulter’s match was almost as dramatic, and it followed a similar pattern. It looked like she would win easily when she raced into a 5-1 lead in the opening set. However, Galfi has demonstrated to everyone what a good player she is with emphatic straight-sets victories over Kaja Juvan and Valentini Grammitikopoulou this week, and she suddenly found her rhythm and started to fight back.

At the same time, the Brit suffered a slight dip, and the Hungarian quickly dragged the score back to 5-4.

The next game was a nervy affair. Boulter earned six set points, but repeatedly missed her first serve when she tried to take advantage, and Galfi capitalised to return the score to deuce each time.

The Brit missed her first serve again on her seventh set point, but the Hungarian finally sent a ball long to give her opponent the first set.

After an early exchange of breaks, the second set was totally dominated by serving. Both players held easily to take it to a tie-break, and there were six love holds along the way.

Boulter slipped 3-1 behind in the tie-break, before responding well to move 4-3 ahead. However, Galfi sent down a few huge serves and got the mini-break she needed to win it 7-5 and take the match into a decider.

Boulter produces her best when she needs it most

The decider was unbearably tense. Boulter fell a break behind at 3-2 and looked very tired. But she showed against Grammatikopoulou that she will never give up, and she drew on that same fighting spirit once again to break back immediately.

Both players had a couple of chances to break in the next two games, but neither managed to take advantage of a break point, and they did not get any more chances before the scoreboard rolled along to 6-6.

This is when Boulter showed why she is seen as a rising star in the world of tennis. Despite her fatigue, she played a near-flawless tie-break to win it 7-1 and secure a priceless win.

“Oh my god. This is everything to me. This means so much,” the Brit said in her post-match interview. “[To the crowd] Thank you so much for helping me out.”

“I was not calm at all. I wanted to see the last ball go out so I knew I had won. My heart was pumping so quickly.”

As it was late at night, the tie was already over, and it would not have changed anything in the group table, the doubles was cancelled.

Serbia stun Croatia in exciting clash

Earlier in the day, Serbia beat Croatia 2-1 in a thrilling tie. Olga Danilovic, 18, was the star – she edged out Jana Fett 2-6 6-2 7-6(7) and then partnered Aleksandra Krunic to a 1-6 6-1 6-4 victory over Darija Jurak and Ana Konjuh in the decisive doubles.

In between those matches, Donna Vekic underlined her status as Croatia’s No.1 when she beat Krunic 1-6 7-5 6-1.

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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