Konta and Watson start GB Fed Cup campaign with wins

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British number two Heather Watson reached the semi-finals of the Hobart International in January

Great Britain made a winning start to their Fed Cup campaign with victory over Portugal in Tallinn, Estonia.

Heather Watson and Johanna Konta won their respective singles matches to give Britain an unassailable 2-0 lead before the doubles rubber.

Britain play their final game in Group B against Estonia on Friday and, if they top their group, will face a play-off against the winner of Group C.

The winner of that tie will qualify for World Group II play-offs in April.

Britain have not competed in the Fed Cup World Group since 1993 – they reached the play-off stage in 2017, but lost 3-2 on the clay to Romania.

Watson kicked off the tie with a 6-4 6-1 victory over world number 796 Francisca Jorge.

The 25-year-old went a break down in the first set but fought back well, before closing out victory in one hour 13 minutes.

British number one Konta was equally dismissive of Maria Joao Koehler, beating the 747th-ranked Portuguese 6-1 6-0 in 49 minutes.

Fed Cup format

Unlike the men’s Davis Cup, which has a World Group of 16 nations, the Fed Cup divides its top teams into two groups of eight – World Group I and World Group II.

The 91 nations outside the top tiers are divided into three regional zones and Britain have one chance per year to escape – a format that hugely frustrated former captain Judy Murray.

The Europe/Africa Group I event, which this year takes place in Estonia, sees 14 teams divided into groups.

Four group winners will progress to promotion play-offs on Saturday, and two nations will then qualify for World Group II play-offs in April.

FED CUP EUROPE/AFRICA GROUP I
GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C GROUP D
Serbia Great Britain Croatia Latvia
Bulgaria Estonia Hungary Poland
Georgia Portugal Slovenia Austria
Sweden Turkey



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