By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Great Britain will need to win the play-off in April to stay in the qualifiers for the 2021 Fed Cup
- The eight losing teams in the qualifiers will face the nations promoted from the Group I events
- The draw will take place on Tuesday, 11 February, at 11:00 GMT
LONDON, UK – Great Britain is expected to be seeded in the draw for the Fed Cup play-offs in April. Thy will need to win to defend their spot in the top level of the competition.
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Great Britain will need to win the play-off in April to qualify for the 2021 Fed Cup qualifiers. The draw will take place on Tuesday, 11 February. Sixteen nations will feature in those playoffs: the losing nations from the Fed Cup Qualifiers and the advancing nations from the Regional Group I events. The play-offs winners will meet the teams that finish in 3rd to 10th positions in the Finals in Budapest in the 2021 qualifiers.
Qualifiers, the losing teams
According to the actual ranking, that will be updated before the draw, Great Britain are the second-highest ranked nation of the group, behind Romania, currently ranked at No. 6, one place lower than their highest-ever position of No. 5, which they reached in February last year. Romania, without Simona Halep, lost at home to Russia for the third time in as many meetings.
Latvia, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, Brazil and the Netherlands (ordered by rankings) will play the play-offs, too. Latvia recovered from 0-2 to 2-2, as Jelena Ostapenko beat the Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Anastasija Sevastova gave Serena Williams her first singles defeat in the competition, but they lost the decisive double failing to complete Latvia’s first comeback from 0-2 down.
Canada will probably be the trickiest nation to face in April as they are meant to line-up Bianca Andreescu and Eugenie Bouchard, sidelined against Switzerland, and the 2019 Roland Garros junior champion Leylah Fernandez who managed to upset World No.5 Belinda Bencic.
Japan crashed on clay in Spain as Carla Suarez Navarro won both her singles rubbers and Naomi Osaka committed 50 unforced errors surrendering to Sara Sorribes Tormo who celebrated her maiden Top 10 win.
Kiki Bertens will lead the Netherlands after their home defeat to Belarus. Kazakhstan will rely on Yulia Putintseva, the fourth player from her nation to contest 20 ties, and Zarina Diyas, who owns the joint-record for most Fed Cup singles matches won by a Kazakh player. Brazil came off a streak of five consecutive defeats in best-of-5-match ties, falling to Croatia 4-1 in the World Group play-offs in both 2003 and 2004, to Switzerland 4-1 in the 2014 World Group II play-offs, to Slovakia 4-1 in the World Group II play-offs last year, and 0-4 to Germany in Florianopolis this week.
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Group I winners
Four teams clinched the promotion from the Europe/Africa Group I events. In Tallinn, Italy and Ukraine won their playoffs against Croatia and Estonia, despite the home fans seeing Anett Kontaveit beat World No.4 Elina Svitolina in an enthralling three-setter. Dayana Yastremska became the key factor for the victory. Ukraine seems the most dangerous among Great Britain’s possible opponents.
In Luxembourg, Serbia and Poland advanced. Serbia edged out Slovenia 2-1 thanks largely to Nina Stojanovic who leveled the tie beating Tamara Zidansek after producing her best performance of the tournament before she partnered Aleksandra Krunic to win the doubles. Poland beat Sweden 2-0 as Iga Swiatek and Magda Linette won their singles rubber against Sweden.
In the Americas Group I, Argentina and Mexico, booked their place in the play-offs with wins over Colombia and Paraguay respectively.
The draw will feature two blank lines, as the Asia/Oceania Group I event, moved from Dongguan in China to the the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, will take place on 3–7 March 2020, following the ATP Dubai tournament. Six nations will compete in one pool on a round-robin basis for the final two places in the qualifiers: China P.R., Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, Korea Rep. and Uzbekistan. The two highest-ranked teams will be promoted.
The draw will take place on Tuesday, 11 February
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