Katie Boulter won 6-4 6-2 on her Fed Cup debut to set Great Britain up for a comfortable 3-0 victory over Slovenia in their opening Pool A match in Bath.
The Briton, 22, seemed a bit nervous early on as she laboured to her first hold. However, once she settled down, she looked in irresistible form as she brushed aside Kaja Juvan.
Boulter took her first break point of the match to forge ahead in game five, and then held serve easily in the rest of the set to clinch it 6-4.
The World No.83 then turned on the style in the second set. She served well, finished points clinically at the net and hit a host of superb winners from both wings.
It was the perfect start to the week for Britain, and Boulter beamed as she thanked the crowd at the University of Bath for their raucous support.
Konta battles to tense victory
British No.1 Johanna Konta did not make her match against Dalila Jakupovic look so easy. She eventually won 7-6 6-2 after an unbearably tense first set when both players struggled for consistency.
In a sign of things to come, the Briton dropped her serve in game three. She then broke back immediately by winning a marathon game that lasted over ten minutes.
Konta then moved 4-2 ahead with another break, and the heavily partisan crowd visibly relaxed. However, they were soon feeling uncomfortable again as the Briton meekly surrended her advantage in the next game.
The rest of the set was frankly ridiculous, as both players hit some excellent winners and made several puzzling errors. Consequently, there were four consecutive breaks from 4-4 to 6-6 which set up a tie-break.
More drama ensued. Konta seemed down and out when she fell 4-1 and 6-3 behind. However, she refused to give in and hustled Jakupovic into a couple of errors to draw level at 6-6.
The Slovenian saved one set point at 6-7, but the Briton took her second set point to win the tie-break 9-7.
When the higher-ranked player wins a tight opening set, the second set is often much easier for them, and that is exactly what happened here.
Konta seemed more confident and twice broke Jakupovic to love to lead 4-1. The Serb showed some resistance in the remaining games but it was too little, too late as the Briton wrapped up the set 6-2.
Swan and Dart serve up doubles delight
With the tie over, Katie Swan and Harriet Dart took to the court to face Jakupovic and Juvan in the doubles.
Buoyed by their teammates’ victories, the British pair produced an excellent display to beat the Slovenian pair 6-2 6-2 in just under 90 minutes.
Swan was playing her first Fed Cup Doubles rubber and Dart was taking part in her first Fed Cup match of any kind, but neither showed any sign of nerves as they raced into a 5-0 lead.
The Slovenians then gained a foothold by winning the next two games, and they briefly raised hopes of an unlikely fightback when they earned two break points in game eight. However, the Britons held on to clinch the set 6-2.
The second set followed a similar pattern, as Swan and Dart went a double break up, only for Jakupovic and Juvan to peg them back to 4-2 once more.
But the British pair were in no mood for a lengthy set. They broke the Slovenians again and won a lengthy eighth game on serve to finish off the match and the tie.
Fed Cup Finals And Play-Offs Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns
The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to fears over the Coronavirus.
April’s Fed Cup Finals and play-offs have been postponed due to current health concerns associated with the coronavirus.
Today’s announcement comes hours after the Hungarian government announced a ban on any indoor events which has more than 1000 people in it.
The Fed Cup finals were due to take place between the 14th and 19th of April in Budapest but the increasing amount of cases around the world and 13 in Hungary left the ITF with no choice.
In addition, April’s play-offs have also been postponed and will be moved to a later date, with the ITF finding away to solve the problem around eligibility for the summer’s Olympic games.
Speaking on the announcement, ITF President David Haggerty expressed his disappointment but insisted health is more important, “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators,” Haggerty said.
“This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.
“New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.”
The Fed Cup Finals and play-offs are the second tennis event to be postponed because of the coronavirus after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was cancelled a couple of days ago.
Currently the Miami Open is set to go ahead although there is a big chance that this tournament could also be cancelled.
The ATP and WTA tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium is set to start on Monday the 25th of March.
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
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