By Ros Satar, in Bath

  • Johanna Konta def. Dalila Jakupovic 7-6(7), 6-2
BATH, UK – Johanna Konta weathered a storm from Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic to give Great Britain a first tie win in the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Group I campaign.

 

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Johanna Konta def. Dalila Jakupovic 7-6(7), 6-2

If British No. 2 Katie Boulter was the epitome of calm and poise in the first rubber, things could not have been tighter with momentum swinging from one end of the court to the other as British No. 1 Johanna Konta took on Dalila Jakupovic.

 

READ MORE | Tennis | Fed Cup Group I | Boulter ‘rises to the occasion’ to give GB a lead

 

The pair batted break point chances back in forth in a tense first set, as first Jakupovic broke to render the home crowd a little flat, following the euphoria of the first match. Konta, who had failed to make good on her first three break point chances, had another seven opportunities, breaking the Slovenian to bring things level.

A lack of a consistent first serve was hurting Konta, as well as shorts shots to the middle of the court being rightfully punished by Jakupovic, volleys leaving you wanting to hide behind the sofa, and a flurry of breaks which saw Jakupovic take two cracks at serving out for the first set and Konta denying her twice to force a tie-break.

If the set itself was topsy-turvy, the tie-break didn’t disappoint with Konta coming from 1-4 down, having to save three set points, to come out on top.

It looked as though the second set was going swimmingly as Konta took the lead with a double-break cushion. Perhaps easing off a little, Jakupovic found a way back via a weak Konta game to get one of the breaks back.

Konta held her resolve to break straight back to give herself the buffer again, coming out to serve for the set, needing three match points to close out a 2-0 result in the first tie.

After a rough year in 2018, we are seeing a return to the gritty Konta we saw in 2016, who often clawed her way back in matches to steal a win.

She explained: What I tried to draw on is past experiences and it’s not the first time I’ve been down in a tie-break or down in a set or even up in a set, things come and go and I just really tried to stick to that process, stay calm because there was every reason for me to be calm. The level of the match was reasonable. It was up and down in parts, but I thought I was competing well and just tried to trust that more than anything.

“I thought [Jakupovic] just adapted quite well and she definitely challenged me.”

 

Home crowd advantage has played its part in many a recent Davis Cup tie, but playing at home for the first time in 26 years is a new experience not only the players for the many of the leadership team too.

Konta continued: “I mean it’s very different. A Fed Cup tie is fundamentally very different but again it’s our first time at home, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. If they’re all like this when we’re pretty damn lucky.”

 

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