By Ros Satar, in Bath
- Johanna Konta def. Anna Bondar 6-2 6-7(1) 7-6(4)
- GB now face Serbia for a spot in April’s World Group II play-off
BATH, UK – Johanna Konta survived another nail-biting three-setter to put GB in Saturday’s battle for a place for April’s Fed Cup World Group II play-offs.
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Johanna Konta def. Anna Bondar 6-2 6-7(1) 7-6(4)
World No. 224 Anna Bondar might be way down the pecking order of a Hungarian side that could have boasted Timea Babos, but came away with a slightly weaker look, but disguised a heavy pounding serve and solid groundstrokes, in the side that beat other favourites for the group, Greece.
After a scintillating opener with Katie Boulter leaving everything out there on the court, all eyes fell to the British No. 1 Johanna Konta to bring GB home and book a spot in the Saturday Pool play-off.
Things certainly started well for the Brit, starting with a break and following that up for a commanding 5-1 lead. Bondar thumped the ball back enough times to at least get a little further up the scoreboard before Konta wrapped up the first set.
There were chances at the start of the second set – four to be precise – that went begging for Konta to stamp her authority on the Hungarian, but encouragingly her first serve percentage had climbed up significantly from the first set – and once that serve of hers starts firing, everything else in her game tends to follow.
But things have been nervy at times for the former World No. 4, who dug herself out of a little scoreboard pressure, deflecting a break point on her own serve. Konta had more chances to break but Bondar would swing for the fences to get herself out of trouble time and again, to hang on to her serve.
The second set would come to be one of many missed chances for Konta – nine break point chances in all went begging as Hungary continued to threaten, levelling up the match with a commanding tie-break.
Again, it was the underdogs who nipped first, with Bondar breaking Konta to build up a 3-1 lead, but experience told as Konta hung on to break back. Not only that but she would go on to save three break points against her to keep things on an even keel.
Playing most definitely above her ranking of No. 224 in the world, time and again Bondar would unleash a killer forehand to frustrate an unusually cautious Konta. With Bondar serving once more to stay in the match, she hung on to force an tie-break.
This time Konta’s experience showed as she came from an immediate mini-break down to gradually work up a lead, breaking the young Hungarian twice to send GB into Saturday’s play-off.
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The play-off between Great Britain and Serbia will take place, not before 4:30pm.
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