By Ros Satar, in Bath
- Johanna Konta def. Maria Sakkari 4-6 6-2 6-3
- Winner takes it all as GB face Hungary for Saturday’s play-off spot
BATH, UK – Johanna Konta’s experience got her over the line as she came from a set down to put Great Britain in a straight shoot-out with Hungary for a shot at the play-offs.
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Johanna Konta def. Maria Sakkari 4-6 6-2 6-3
After all the drama of the previous match with Katie Boulter, it looked to be starting swimmingly for British No. 1 Johanna Konta, with a break to lead Greece’s Maria Sakkari 3-1 at the start of the second rubber. With just a spot separating them in the rankings, Sakkari bit straight back before breaking Konta for a second successive time to open up a little clear- water.
A revival looked hopeful as Konta deflected a set point to hang in the first set, but Sakkari would put Greece in the driving seat, serving out for the first set. The momentum stayed with Greece as Sakkari broke at the start of the second, putting Britain very much on the back foot, but experience shone through, much as it did on Konta’s first match, as she broke Sakkari straight back, nudging ahead with a double break cushion having re-found her forehand which had deserted her earlier. Sealing the second set, the scene was set for a nail-biting finish.
Line calls had been an issue in the previous match and key moments saw contention calls once more, which frustrated Sakkari to the point that she called them ‘unprofessional’ after the match. Just a single break made the difference, with Konta also being in the receiving end of a couple of dubious calls.
After the match, Konta said: “It’s the nature of the game, without Hawkeye. I mean both of us did the best that we can to get on with it and keep going. It definitely came at difficult times for both of us.”
Team captain, Anne Keothavong added: “There were tight line calls, some of the bad line calls when both ways, you know but that’s tennis. I said it before, how often do you go through a tournament and not see players question line calls and there’s a lot of tension out there and players see what they want to see as well. But my brother’s an official so I’m sympathetic to officials these days (laughs).”
For all the tightness of the match, it was a great moment at the net between Konta and Sakkari, and a bit of relief for Konta’s parents who were there to watch her first Fed Cup tie.
She said: “I think for me to really work my back into that match being a set down and a break down, it showed a lot of strength on my behalf and a lot of experience. I thought I played with the experience I’ve accumulated so far, which I’m quite proud of.
“It was so nice to have my parents here today and for them to also witness such a great battle in real life. It’s their first Fed Cup they’ve ever watched so that was a nice intro for them. Quite tough on the nerves for them but really happy they got to be a part of it. I mean to then after to say thank you to the crowd, to absorb, really let it in their excitement and their passion for the match, It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Great Britain will play Hungary in the last Pool match, not before 4:30pm
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