Tallinn | Britain edge closer to play-off

Great Britain are one tie away from reaching the World Group II play-offs of the Fed Cup thanks to Jo Konta and Heather Watson’s efforts in their round-robin Pool B ties, beating both Portugal and the hosts Estonia.

The team started with a dominant win last Wednesday against Portugal with no player in their team ranked in the top 500.

Every match is a battle, but I'm really enjoying being with the team and enjoying fighting here Jo Konta

Watson defeated 17-year-old Francisca Jorge 6-4 6-2 while Konta needed just 49 minutes to defeat Maria Joao Koehler 6-1 6-0. Britain also collected the doubles point to post a 3-0 win.

On Friday the team faced a stronger challenge Watson got off to an excellenet start to sweep aside Katriin Saar 6-1 6-1 but Konta had problems in dispatching the fast-rising Estonian star Anett Kontaveit but eventually prevailed 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2.

In the doubles rubber, Anna Smith and Katie Boulter eased to a 6-1 6-1 victory to give Britain another 3-0 win to maintain their unbeaten record for the week.

The Britons, who have reached the play-offs on three previous occasions only to fall at the last hurdle, will have to overcome Hungary this time if they are to try and secure a place in April’s World Group II play-off for a fourth time.

They narrowly missed out on making the competition’s elite tier after losing to Romania last year, with similar defeats coming in 2012 and 2013.

“I played much better in this match, especially towards the end of the match,” Watson said following her win on Friday. “The score didn’t quite suggest how close the match was, especially at the beginning. I have got a pretty decent Fed Cup record so I’m just trying to keep that going.”

In contrast Konta twice served for the opening set against Kontaveit before losing the tie-break. “I really had to trust in myself that I would be able to maintain the level longer than she could,” said the British No.1. “There was very little in it and she made it incredibly tough for me.

“Every match is a battle, but I’m really enjoying being with the team and enjoying fighting here.”



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