By Ros Satar
- Katie Swan is GB’s youngest ever Fed Cup player as she debuts in Eilat, Israel
- Replaces Johanna Konta who had to withdraw with illness
- GB 3-0 over South Africa
EILAT, ISRAEL – GB’s Fed Cup team made an emphatic winning start as Junior World No. 3 Katie Swan got them off to a winning straight sets start.
Swan usurps former GB stalwart Anne Keothavong with her debut at the age of 16 years and 316 days – Keothavong was 17 years and 221 days in 2001. The British No. 10 holds a WTA tour ranking of 524 in the world, beat Ilze Hattingh in straight sets 6-3 6-0 to get Britain off to a winning start.
Swan, who was a finalist in last year’s Australian Open junior final said, to FedCup.com: “I was really excited to play but I was also a bit nervous, which was showing in the beginning, but I managed to relax after a few games and I started playing really well.
“It’s just amazing to get to play for your country – for me it’s the best thing in tennis representing your country.
“British tennis is doing amazing. We have the Davis Cup boys who just won and obviously Jo and Andy (Murray) and Jamie (Murray) doing so well in Australia. It’s inspired the whole team.”
— British Tennis (@BritishTennis) February 4, 2016
Her winning start was ably followed up by British No. 2 Heather Watson, who als picked up a straight sets win over Chanel Simmonds, with the doubles specialists Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith completing a straight sets sweep 6-3 6-2.
Watson said (as reported on FedCup.com): “The important thing today was coming through not playing my best. My opponent had a very unusual game style playing very short and leftie. Definitely wasn’t used to the slower pace and not having played a match in a while. I was glad that I won and Katie did too. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”
Britain face Georgia next and winners of Group B will face the winners of Group A – where Belgium are currently leading the group. For both Britain and Georgia, and Belgium and Bulgaria in Group D it will now be a straight shootout for the pool winners clash.
The sessions resume on Friday at 9:30am (7:30am GMT) and 3:30pm (1:30 GMT).
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