Konta hails team spirit as Great Britain ease to victory in opening Fed Cup tie
Tennis

Konta hails team spirit as Great Britain ease to victory in opening Fed Cup tie

08 February 2017 / 14:02

Johanna Konta was quick to praise Great Britain’s team spirit after they made short work of their Fed Cup opener with Portugal, needing little more than three hours to seal a 3-0 victory.

Singles wins for Heather Watson and Konta gave Great Britain an unassailable lead, before doubles pairing Jocelyn Rae and Laura Robson wrapped up proceedings in Tallinn, Estonia.

Next up for the Brits is Latvia, on Thursday, before facing Turkey the following day to complete the Group C fixtures, with the group winners earning a play-off against the victors of Group B, on Saturday.

World number 72 Watson gave Great Britain the perfect start to the day, sailing to a rapid 6-1 6-1 win over Ines Murta, in just 57 minutes.

Konta saw her mettle tested by Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second singles tie, with the Portuguese player putting up a sterner resistance than her compatriot had against Watson.

But world number ten Konta overcame the challenge in some style, hitting ten aces before prevailing 6-2 6-4 in exactly an hour.

Murta and de Brito then teamed up following the singles rubbers to take on Robson and Rae in the doubles, with victory already in the bag for the Brits.

That didn’t stop the British duo from making it a whitewash, however, closing out the tie in straight sets, 6-2 6-3.

And for Konta, opening match victory is just the start of great things to come for her team.

“I’m really happy to have got the match under my belt,” she said. “It was a high-level match, and it got better and better as it went on.

“She made me work for it in the end and I’m really happy to have come through for the team.

“We’ll try to come back stronger every day.”

Great Britain are seeded third among the 14 nations currently competing in the Estonian capital, with the winners of Saturday’s playoff progressing to a World Group II play-off, in April.

And for Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong, Wednesday’s performance perfectly encapsulated her side’s determination to succeed.

“The girls were really good, Heather got us off to a great start, she was the much more experienced player out there so pressure was on her to perform, and she delivered,” she said.

“Jo, ever the professional, made a cracking start and it was a good fight from both of them, it was good quality tennis.

“She was made to work for it and worked up a good sweat, and in Laura and Joc, we saw fantastic doubles. I know they haven’t played too much together but watching them play then, you’d never have thought that.

“They took charge and did what they had to do, so first day and a clean sheet – what more can I ask for?”

Sportsbeat 2017

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