Fed Cup 2019: Seeded Great Britain to play Kazakhstan at home in World Group II play-offs

The GB Fed Cup team got two extra boosts this week in their campaign to join the World Group II level

Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong (Photo: Screengrab)
Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong (Photo: Screengrab)

After a storming week in Bath last week, the GB Fed Cup team got two extra boosts this week in their campaign to join the World Group II level.

The British women came through all their Zone 1 pool matches and the deciding knock-out against Serbia without loss to earn a place in the World Group II play-offs for the fifth time in eight years, and the third year in a row. They did so on home soil for the first time in 26 years, and when the draw was made for the WGII play-offs today, they struck gold again: another home tie.

That followed the news on Monday that GB’s new ranking had earned them a seeding for the crucial tie, in which they will take on Kazakhstan in the shape of current world No43 Yulia Putintseva and No96 Zarina Diyas—both ranked a few places below Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter respectively, GB’s winning duo in Bath.

Kazakhstan also went unbeaten in their Zone I round-robins, though only had to play two other nations compared with GB’s three, but then dropped one of their rubbers in the knock-out Asia/Oceania group against China.

The four seeded nations in the World Group II play-offs are Russia, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Slovakia, and they are drawn against Brazil, Italy, Japan and Kazakhstan.

World Group II Play-off ties (with seedings)

(1)Russia* vs Italy

Japan* vs (2)Netherlands

(3)Great Britain* vs Kazakhstan

(4)Slovakia* vs Brazil

NB *choice of ground.

The deadline for confirmation of the play-off venues is 5 March. GB is tipped to select the Copper Box Arena, one of the 2012 Olympic venues located at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford.

GB facts and stats

· GB has never won the Fed Cup, but has been runner-up four times, in 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1981.

· GB is one of only four nations to have competed in every Fed Cup competition.

· GB had played in 15 different countries since its last home match in 1993.

· Prior to this year, the team had reached the World Group II play-offs in 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018.

· The World Group is split into two divisions of eight teams, which means the winners of April’s play-off has to earn another promotion from WGII to WG1 in 2020, for the chance to compete for the title in 2021.

The World Group and World Group II play-offs plus the World Group semi-finals take place on 20-21 April.

In those semi-finals, Australia will be at home to Belarus and France will host Romania.

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