Monday, February 17, 2020

Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter get GB’s Fed Cup away and off to winning start


The road to promotion for excellent Britain from the Fed Cup had never been apt to be easy, besides a home crowd to call on. Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter got applying with hard-fought wins on Wednesday night since they beat Slovenia, though with Greece awaiting on Thursday, challenging tasks are recently beginning.

Konta showed encouraging form and timely resilience to discover the better of Dalila Jakupovic, the globe No 86, 7-6 (7), 6-2, saving three set points while in the opening set tie-break before easing away within the second. Boulter, Fed Cup singles debut, had already given Britain a 1-0 lead, overcoming a nervy learn to beat Kaja Juvan, an 18-year-old ranked No 169, before Konta sealed the win. Britain’s doubles went onto finish a 3-0 win.

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It will take four wins in four days if Britain are to give themselves to be able to escape Group One, your third tier from the competition. Prior to now six years, Britain have made it to everyone Group II play-off and then fall agonisingly in the final hurdle. Greece are likely to present a hardcore challenge, for Britain’s 1 Konta, that will face Maria Sakkari.

At No 38, Sakkari is definitely the second-highest ranked player on show here today, behind Croatia’s Donna Vekic, the modern world No 25, and Konta knows she’ll must be on top form if she is to carry up her end. Although Greece’s 2-1 loss to Hungary on Wednesday may take some of the pressure off.

With the 22-year-old Boulter, now ranked 83, looking assured in her debut inside 2 singles spot, Konta has support while in the ranks but two more group matches to come back on Thursday and Friday , and potentially a fourth on Saturday, conserving energy in the past is critical.

“I didn’t really need to be a slave to within a deciding doubles on the beginning,” Britain’s captain, Anne Keothavong, said, “but this competitors are definately not completed and it’s critical that they rest, recover and make preparations for tomorrow.

“Physically it’s hard. Mentally I really don’t think you possibly can underestimate all of the emotions they go through within the build up to this, playing before a residence crowd for the first time. It’s completely different to what they knowledge in the grass court season along with the format in this levels of competition are something that shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Keothavong was afraid of Boulter, who showed why she will be tipped to look more achieable from the rankings that has a confident showing, dominating with her forehand. At 22, she will be in early stages of her career and rare on her behalf to remain the harder experienced player on court. Though with the 1,800 tickets soldout concerts, the group backed her up and helped her cope with. “I couldn’t know the way in which it may be being here was quite tremendous,” Boulter said. “Everyone showed a lot support and I loved it out there.”

Konta, who have dropped down the rankings in the top at the outset of 2018 towards a mark of 39, led 4-2 but was pegged back by Jakupovic, who returned superbly. The 27-year-old continued to accept the match to Konta but, having twice given herself the opportunity to serve out the first set, she could hardly close it all out as Konta held firm.

In the tie-break, Jakupovic led 6-3 but in adversity, Konta dug deep, saving the 3 injuries set points with aggressive play then, after missing her first set point, she crunched a forehand into the baseline to adopt tie-break 9-7. That eased the nerves as well as an early break put her responsible for all while in the second. Leading 4-1, she let slip one break but broke again over the following game and served out to wrap the win.

Heather Watson, who missed the Slovenia match as a result of illness, isn’t highly likely to recover in time to try out an important part against Greece, placing more increased exposure of the two main singles players. Konta beat Sakkari in round two approach to the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2019 but she knows the Greek will present a more substantial challenge on this occasion round.

“She has become playing great tennis, mainly the last Yr,” Konta said. “I have got a lot of respect off and on the legal court. She’s fundamentally an awesome person as well as a great player. Now i’m looking forward to playing her.

“The before we played is at Wimbledon in 2019. A lot has happened ever since then. It truly is another possibility of me to spend time playing a terrific player.”

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