Johanna Konta Survives Huge Scare To Earn Serbia Play-Off for Great Britain - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

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.

Published

on

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

Fed Cup To Have A New Format From 2020

Details about the changes to the historic competition has been announced.

Published

on

Federation Cup (foto via Twitter, @FedCup)

The International Tennis Federation has confirmed that home and away finals will be removed from Fed Cup competition in favour of a week-long tournament taking place in a neutral location.

 

From 2020, the women’s team tournament will follow in the footsteps of the Davis Cup, which underwent a controversial revamp last year. Under the new structure, 12 teams will play in the finals over six days during April. However, home and away ties will still be used in the play-in rounds that will take place during February.

A total of $18 million worth of prize money will be available. The winners of the competition will receive $1.2M for their national federation and an additional $3.2M for players. In comparison, those who reach the group stages will receive $300,000 and $500,000 retrospectively. Overall, $12M will be awarded to players and $6M to national associations.

“The launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas finals will create a festival of tennis that elevates the flagship women’s team competition to a new level, yet remains loyal to the historic core of the Fed Cup.” Said ITF President David Haggerty.
“We have consulted and listened to stakeholders and worked with the WTA and its player council to make sure the new format represents the interests of the players.” He added.

The Hungarian capital of Budapest will be the venue of the newly formatted finals between 2020-2022. It will be held at the László Papp Budapest Sports Arena on two clay courts. The competition will be played in a round-robin format with four groups of three. The winner of each group would then progress to the semi-finals.

Besides the February ties, two countries will be handed wild cards into the finals. Hungary will be one of them and another country is yet to be confirmed. Hungary hasn’t played in the top tier of the competition since 2002. This year’s finalists, Australia and France, have also been given direct entry into the finals.

“Fed Cup has evolved since I was part of the first winning team in 1963 but it has always remained true to its roots.” Said Fed Cup ambassador Billie Jean King.
“These reforms are historic as they reflect the ITF’s commitment to unlocking the Fed Cup huge potential, hosting a competition with prize money deserving of the world’s best women’s teams and players. It is an honour to be part of the next evolution of the greatest event in women’s tennis.”

Not all in favour

Earlier this week Simona Halep confirmed that she will stop playing in the Fed Cup should the format change. Countries like Romania now only have a 50% chance of hosting one Fed Cup tie every year over the next three years.

“I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that,” the former world No.1 told reporters earlier this week.
“If Fed Cup changes I won’t play any more. I like the format now so if they change, it will be tough because Fed Cup means to play home and away.”

Halep’s comments were backed by Karolina Pliskova, who represents the Czech Republic. A team who has won the title six times since 2011. Pliskova played in the final of the competition in 2015 and 2016.

“I think they should not change, because especially for smaller countries like Czech Republic, I think this is something that they always look forward to,” said Pliskova.
“We don’t have many (home) tournaments. We have just one. For Romania, they have maybe one tournament too.
“It’s huge when Simona is playing there. So I understand that if she’s playing somewhere else, you don’t feel the same.”

 

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

Simona Halep Threatens To Boycott Fed Cup If Revamp Takes Place

The 27-year-old has criticised proposals to change the format of the team competition.

Published

on

Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former world No.1 Simona Halep has said she will stop playing in the Fed Cup if the International Tennis Federation removes home and away ties from the competition.

 

In recent months there has been speculation that the women’s team event will soon follow the path of the Davis Cup, which has undergone a controversial reform. Where the finals will take place at the end of a year over a week in a neutral location. The driving force behind the changes to the Davis Cup is Kosmos. An investment company founded by Barcelona footballer Gerald Pique. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years.

“I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that,” Reuters News quoted Halep as telling reporters in Eastbourne on Monday.
“If Fed Cup changes I won’t play any more. I like the format now so if they change, it will be tough because Fed Cup means to play home and away.”

Halep helped guide Romania to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup this year in what has been their best performance since 1973. Overall, she has won 22 out of 32 matches played since her debut back in 2010.

“To play at home, it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“I’ve played many years in Fed Cup and the best feeling is to be at home with all the people that come to support and also away you have to manage the emotions and the pressure.”

Earlier this month, ITF president Davis Haggerty vowed to revamp the Fed Cup in order to keep it in line with the men’s equivalent. Although he hasn’t outline an exact date as to when this will take place. Haggerty is seeking re-election this year and has outlined his plans in his manifesto.

“Fed Cup reform is a key focus of the Board in 2019, with the ambition to implement a similar Fed Cup World Cup of Tennis with a minimum of 16 teams in the World Group 2020 and to play one round of qualifying and an eight or 12-team Fed Cup Final in April 2020 in one location. This also aligns with the ITF Gender Equality initiative that we introduced in 2018 and continues to ensure tennis is a welcoming sport.” Sport Business quoted Haggerty as saying.

On Thursday an announcement is expected to be made about the future of the Fed Cup by the ITF in a press conference.

Continue Reading

Fed Cup

After 26 Years Of Heartbreak, Great Britain Finally Secures Fed Cup Promotion

After losing four play-off ties since 2011, the British team have finally scored the breakthrough they desired.

Published

on

Johanna Konta (image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA)

A duo of hard fought singles victories in London has made history for British Tennis after the Fed Cup team defeated Kazakhstan to reach the World Group stage for the first time since 1993.

 

Tied at 1-1 after the first day, Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter prevailed in both of their matches to hand Great Britain an overall 3-1 win over their opponents. The proceedings were opened up on Sunday by former top 10 player Konta. Taking on Yania Putintseva, Konta battled to an epic 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. After dropping the opening set, she was then forced to recover from a 1-4 deficit in the decider to score the crucial victory. Putintseva, who was struggling physically during the match, is only the fourth top 50 player Konta has defeated so far in 2019.

“As a young girl, as an athlete wanting to make it to the top of my sport… you can only dream of this stuff.” She said during an interview with BT Sport. “Gosh that was one hell of a match wasn’t it?”

Following on from Konta’s heroics, it was Boulter’s chance to seal an unassailable lead for her country in the tie. Boulter wasn’t born until three years after her country was last in the World Group of the Fed Cup. The 22-year-old was out to seek redemption after squandering three match points on Saturday during her loss to Putintseva.

Embed from Getty Images

This time round Boulter didn’t crumble when under pressure. Like teammate Konta, she roared back from a set down to defeat Zarina Diyas 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-1. Winning 67% of her first service points and breaking her opponent’s serve six times throughout the match.

“I was trying to get one win for the team, Johanna did a great job, I was just trying to make them proud today,” she told BT Sport.
“I showed yesterday how much it meant, I was so close but today I bounced back and got the win.
“We go again!!”

The triumph comes after what has been years of heartbreak for the British camp. Prior to 2019, they have been on the verge of reaching World Group II of the Fed Cup four times in seven years. Only to lose all of their play-off ties. Making their victory over Kazakhstan even more sweeter.

“Amazing. Just a heroic effort from the players this week, some fantastic tennis.” Team captain Anne Keothavong commented.
“Everyone here has been part of our journey and this has been an unforgettable weekend.
“Jo’s effort. coming back from behind, to Katie today. I think they have inspired a lot of people.”

Besides their new status, the contingent of player’s are hoping that their performances will help inspire the next generation. At present, there are five British players in the top 200 on the WTA Tour. Three of which are under the age of 22 (Boulter, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan).

“I hope that we have inspired a lot of kids here (in London) today to play tennis or do whatever they want to do.” Said team member Heather Watson.

It remains to be seen what is next for the Brits with the possibility of the Fed Cup changing its format. From next year there is a chance that the world group could be turned into a 12-team format. If this happened, Britain is likely to make that group thanks to their latest win.

https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/1120012995508285440

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending