Great Britain’s Fed Cup hopes ended by Belgium

Great Britain's Fed Cup promotion hopes ended after Katie Swan and Heather Watson both lost against Belgium

Fed Cup captain Judy Murray insists Great Britain’s World Group II play-off disappointment will only spur the team to come back stronger next year.

After victories over South Africa and Georgia earlier in the week, Great Britain took on Belgium knowing a victory would see them into April’s World Group II play-off.

But while Great Britain’s men were able to triumph over a Belgium side to record a famous Davis Cup final victory last year, there would be no such success for the women.

Katie Swan, 16, battled bravely against higher ranked Ysaline Bonaventure in the opening rubber of the best-of-three tie before eventually going down 6-3 3-6 6-3.

That meant the responsibility then fell upon the shoulders of British number two Heather Watson to keep the tie alive against world number 43 Alison Van Uytvanck.

A gruelling two hour 28 minute battle followed but while Watson levelled in the second set, she was unable to close out the match, losing out 6-4 3-6 6-4.

With the result of the tie already decided after the two singles matches, the two teams did not contest the doubles rubber.

And while disappointed with the overall outcome, Murray, who was missing British number one Johanna Konta through illness, was already looking ahead to next year.
“It wasn’t to be today, the Belgian team were a bit stronger than us unfortunately,” said Murray.

“Katie kicked us off very impressively with the ranking gap and her being as young as she is. She acquitted herself incredibly well this week both on and off the court, it was fabulous to have her with the team.

“Heather was playing some really world class tennis when she went ahead in the third set, dictating and controlling the ball, but backed up a bit in the key moments and her opponent came up with some big serves.

“All in all, there are lots of things to be pleased about but we are very disappointed we didn’t get out of this zone, we have been stuck in here for years and I am fed up of it!

“Next year we want a full team out, get out of the zone into the World Group to have some home and away ties, and really showcase British women’s tennis to the fans in Britain.”

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