By Ros Satar at the Copper Box Arena, London

  • Johanna Konta def. Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-2 7-5
LONDON, ENGLAND – Great Britain are just one win away from a spot in the Fed Cup elite World Group II after Johanna Konta came from behind again to put the hosts in front.

 

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Johanna Konta def. Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-2 7-5

Never one to do things the easy way, it was another tooth and nail fight to the finish from British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she fought not only from a set down, but 1-4 down in the decider to give Great Britain a 2-1 lead against Kazakhstan, in the fed Cup World Group II Play-off.

It was imperative for Konta to get off to a quick start, and certainly looked to be the aggressor, pushing Yulia Putintseva with three break points in the second game, but could not quite get over the line. She was made to pay quickly as Putintseva broke, but with typical grittiness, with a healthy dose of having her eye in, Konta broke straight back.

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There was little to separate them out on court for the next few games, but from nowhere a loose game from Konta handed Putintseva a break at the business end of the set, and Putintseva threw in a commanding serve to love to set up her lawn-mower starting impersonation to the crowds.

However, just as quickly the momentum switched as once more Konta proved to be determined to leap out to a 3-0 lead, leading Putintseva to have a lengthy time-out which apparently involved asking her own fans to calm down the tub-thumping drumming as it was giving her a headache.

With the second set gone and the scores level, the decider would take a similar twist to yesterday’s three set thriller, as Putintseva looked very much in control with an early break, and backing that up for a 4-1 lead. The green shoots of a recovery came with Konta getting one of breaks back, and hanging on for dear life.

Breaking Putintseva as she served to give the visitors a 2-1 lead seemed to galvanise both the British crowd, who were in far louder voice than yesterday. A break to love set the scene for a race to the finish.

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Cool head wins the day

Konta admitted that today was a little easier to handle in terms of the crowds and knowing what to expect from the Copperbox crowd.

She told reporters: “I was down, I wasn’t out (laughs) but I think I touched on it a little bit in my on-court interview – I tried to keep a cool head, a calm head, a clear one and good perspective in seeing the good things that I was doing. Give credit to her when she did raise her level and also accept that sometimes my level was going to drop as well.”

“I didn’t feel like went into it any differently. Obviously, there’s going to be an element of adapting to the situation and kind of being comfortable in the surroundings of the situation and yesterday first match on there’s going to be a period of adjusting and getting used to it. But I think for sure I knew what to expect going into the match, having had experience of the day before, so maybe that showed in how comfortable I felt out there.”

Putintseva admitted that the emotions of the win on Saturday had resulted in a very late finish for her, and a dizzy spell that resulted in her blood pressure being taken. But she conclude that Konta had really lifted her level to come through for the win.

She said: I was feeling unwell. I think just too much of everything together. The stress, yesterday finished the match, there was a lot of emotions, I slept very late because of those emotions, I couldn’t sleep, so fall asleep around two o’clock. I was thinking I wasn’t focussed, and one moment I couldn’t see the balls. I was scared so I took a medical time-out so the guys could check my blood pressure.

“That was a great level match. Just a little bit unlucky. She was hitting her lines which was good for her, not good for me. It was a great fight to watch and Imd very proud that after everything that happened yesterday”

It was certainly a heartfelt double-fistpump to the crowd, but was she ready to adopt the bicep-kissing style of Putintseva?

“You see my biceps don’t probably measure up to hers (laughs).”

Katie Boulter will play in the second rubber, against Zarina Diyas.

 

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