GB FED CUP TEAM LEVEL 1-1 AFTER DAY ONE AGAINST JAPAN
(April 21, 2018) The Great Britain Fed Cup Team are tied at 1-1 against hosts Japan after the opening day’s play at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II Play-Off at the Bourbon Beans Dome in Miki, Japan. The winning nation will be promoted to the World Group II in 2019. Britain is looking to get back in the world group for the first time since 1993.
First on British No.2 Heather Watson ranked No. 77, fell 6-2, 6-3 to an in-form Japanese No.1 Naomi Osaka ranked No. 22 in the world. Osaka was through in 77 minutes.
After the match Watson said, “I felt in the second set I had more rhythm and got a better read on the ball but Naomi was flawless. I was hoping for a few errors from her. Every time I had a small chance she would hit an ace or a winner. Today she was just way too good. She has improved a lot since I last played her. You can tell she’s confident at the moment as she hit a great shot every time when she was behind in a game. My strategy was to get as many returns in play as possible. She hit a lot of aces today and there was nothing to do. On this fast court it was hard to make her move more as the points were so quick. The crowd was very fair and it was a great atmosphere to play in.
Then Johanna Konta, No. 23 in the world, proved too strong for Japan’s No.2 Kurumi Nara (WR-100), winning 6-4, 612 in one hour, 25 minutes. A break of serve in the first game of each set was the deciding factor and despite Nara breaking back once from 0-3 to 2-3 in the second set, Konta was not to be denied.
Konta said, “I knew going in it was going to be tough. Kurumi used the inspiration from the crowd very well and overall she played at a very high level. I’m pleased to have come through that one and put us as 1-1 at the end of the day. Tomorrow’s match will be a big challenge. My goal will be to compete hard and ask a lot of questions of Naomi. I’ve played her twice, know what to expect but tomorrow will be new match so I will focus on my performance and what I can control.”
Captain Anne Keothavong commented at the end of day one’s play, “Tomorrow will definitely be a case of who can produce the best on the day. Osaka played some very strong tennis against Heather, who had a handful of chances. As Jo said, Nara brought a very high level to the court but Jo was just too strong on the big points and executed her game plan. This is a competition that means a lot to us and we want to do really well. We have lost at this stage three times since 2012 so we will be very eager tomorrow.”
The order of play for the final day is as follows:
Sunday, April 22 (12pm local time start, 4am UK time)
Johanna Konta (GBR) v Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Heather Watson (GBR) v Kurumi Nara (JPN)
Anna Smith/Gabriella Taylor (GBR) v Miya Kato/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN)
* Substitutions from the first singles can be made one hour before play begins, then 10 minutes prior to the second singles and 15 minutes prior to the doubles.