Great Britain’s Fed Cup Tennis stars took the first step towards getting into the illustrious World Group for the first time since 1993. Captain Anne Keothavong kept her cards close to her chest regarding team selection. It wasn’t until a few hours before the first match that it became clear that World #83 Katie Boulter was preferred to World #110, but out of sorts, Heather Watson in the singles.
Sell-out Crowd get Perfect Start from Debutant Harriet Dart & the Hosts in Bath
In front of a vocal, circa 2,100 sellout home-crowd in Bath, Katie Boulter didn’t take too long to break the resistance of Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan–ranked #169 in the world, 86 places below Boulter. Then Johanna Konta had the crowd collectively biting their nails, taking a tight 1st set tie-break to wear down Dalila Jakupovic.
The second set was much easier, with Konta closing out a 7-6, 6-2 victory. Sighs of relief were collectively breathed, but the crowd knows Konta can play better. The knowledgeable crowd also know that she will have to play better – particular against Maria Sakkari of Greece, next match. It is Harriet Dart’s impressive doubles performance on her debut that really makes it a day to be proud of for Britain.
Britain’s future of Harriet Dart & Katie Swan Complete Decisive doubles victory
22-year-old Londoner Harriet Dart teamed up with Katie Swan to complete a 3-0 victory on the opening day for Britain over Slovenia. They displayed on-court chemistry and range to defeat Kaja Juvan and Dalila Jakupovic 6-2 6-2. The Slovenian pair lacked energy and looked fatigued from their singles exploits earlier in the day.
This made it a dream debut for Dart, first of many Fed Cup appearances, no doubt. 19-year-old Katie Swan from Bristol, not far from Bath, made her Fed Cup debut at 16 years old. She takes her Fed Cup record to 3-1 with this dominant doubles display. Dart and Swan give hope that the future of British women’s tennis is bright and has depth.
A Strong Doubles Showing gives Hope for Britain’s Chances of Progressing to World Group of Federation Cup
Although the doubles rubber was not essential in terms of the outcome of the Slovenia tie, it is an area of improvement for Britain. Last year, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson lost a deciding doubles rubber against Japan in a play-off. This defeat resigned Britain to another year in Fed Cup wilderness.
>In Dart and Swan, although it is early days, Britain seems to be developing strength in the doubles arena. The doubles can often be the deciding rubber, so Dart and Swan’s performance is uplifting.
Britain Need to Avoid Complacency
The celebrations in Bath will probably go on into the night from an ecstatic crowd. However, there is a lot more work to be done. Two more group matches and then, potentially, a play-off. Congratulations are well deserved by Anne Keothavong and her team, but they need to stay focused.