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Ladies Tennis Wrap From The Fed Cup In Bath • Great Britain Wins

By April Tod


The University of Bath certainly proved a perfect venue for this year’s Federation Cup Ladies tennis.


Europe Africa Zone Group one play-off and no doubt many of the University’s 16,000 odd students, who ironically make-up for 20% of Bath’s total population, now have a lot more understanding of what the Federation Cup represents.


By the second day the piles of snow dotted around the campus had all but disappeared with the weather changing to torrential rain, hailstones and strong winds as the eight teams of Serbia, Georgia, Great Britain, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Hungary and Greece who had assembled in Bath for the Group One plays offs found themselves having to cope with. Clearly the wet weather did nothing to dampen the hopes and dreams of the host nation.


The sheer determination of both G.B.’s single players Katie Boulter and Joanna Konta ranked 83 and 39 respectively to win all three of their singles matches was credit to their team captain Anne Keothavong, which in turn gave the host host nation the chance to play in Saturday’s semi finals and exactly what they had hoped to achieve in the round robin stages of the tournament.


Seemingly the only contentious issue was the lack of Hawk-Eye facilities and this was particularly noticeable when Greece played Great Britain. In a match between Katie Boulter and Greece’s Valenti Grammatikopoulou there were several dubious line calls with both captains, GB’s Anne Keothavong and Greece’s Anastasios Bavelas jumping up and showing their disapproval to the chair umpire, Swedens’ Evelina Oehme. Both the Greek player and captain were passionately outraged from the middle of the third set and afterwards Grammatikopoulou said she felt the lack of Haweye facilities, “Was not good. I am really disappointed in Fed Cup. Three calls, all at deuce. Hawkeye is from Britain so we were a little surprised that they didn’t put it here.”


TV replays showed the only over-rule Evelina Oehme got wrong was one she made against Boulter towards the end of the second set. Without it, the match could easily have gone to two straight sets, with Boulter not having to play a third deciding set which in the end she won 6-3 in a match that lasted well over two hours.


Saturday’s final tie was even more dramatic if not memorable with Britain playing against Serbia and needing to win to qualify to play in April’s Group One play offs. Boulter played the first match against Ivana Jorovic but not without drama although the 22 year old was playing her first Fed Cup and through sheer effort and determination won in two straight sets placing Great Britain in the lead although after their first match. Afterwards she admitted she was close to tears from the sheer effort of winning. “It has been a really hard week, but it means everything.”


In the next match with Joanna Konta against Aleksander Kronic, Konta won the first set in a tightly fought tie-break but lost the second set 3-6. However moments before the start of the third set, Konta fell to her knees in the passage way besides one of the stands and was locked in a position for several minutes while the British team came to her aid and she underwent medical assessment before returning to the court about seven minutes later.


In the past Konta has openly admitted to having ‘panic attacks’ on court but it is difficult to say that this was again the case even though her past two matches both lasted over the two hour which could have been a combination of fatigue and stress. In the third set Konta managed to hold her nerve and finished with a giant cross court winner on match point winning with a score 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 which gave Team GB an emotional two match win, and the opportunity to play in April’s Group 2 play-offs.

Photo by @BritishTennis via Twitter

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