Fed Cup: Heather Watson win keeps Great Britain in qualifier against Slovakia

February 8, 2020
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    Heather Watson

    Heather Watson made the most of Rebecca Sramkova’s 49 unforced errors

    Heather Watson kept Great Britain in their Fed Cup qualifying tie against Slovakia with a dominant victory over Rebecca Sramkova.

    Her 6-0 7-5 win means GB trail 2-1 in the best-of-five tie in Bratislava.

    Watson had been expecting to face Viktoria Kuzmova, who beat Harriet Dart in a draining three-setter on Friday, but the Slovak number one pulled out shortly beforehand through illness.

    The winners will qualify for April’s 12-nation Fed Cup Finals in Budapest.

    Watson made the most of the late change in opponent, punishing world number 202 Sramkova from the off as she won the first six games to take the set in 26 minutes before the Slovak finally held serve in the opening game of the second set.

    The 27-year-old Briton, who tightened up her game considerably since Friday’s error-strewn 6-2 6-3 loss to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, dealt well with the increased pressure in the second set as Sramkova found some form.

    World number 74 Watson got a decisive break in the 10th game of the second set when Sramkova went long, with the Slovak then continuing to rack up her groundstroke errors to allow Watson to serve out the match with ease.

    Dart now takes on world number 199 Schmiedlova aiming to level the tie and take it to a deciding doubles rubber.

    Britain are without world number 14 Johanna Konta, who has opted to sit out the Fed Cup this year to protect her body, and Katie Boulter.

    They returned to the World Group for the first time since 1996 by beating Kazakhstan in a play-off last April, and are among eight seeded nations in the qualifiers.

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