Fed Cup: Watson and Konta lead GB closer to World Group II play-offs
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson led Great Britain a step closer to the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs with victory over Estonia in a round-robin tie in Tallinn.
Watson beat Katriin Saar 6-1 6-1 in their Pool B match.
Konta survived a scare before seeing off Anett Kontaveit 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2.
The British team face the winners of Pool C, Hungary, on Saturday to try to secure a place in April’s World Group II play-off for a fourth time.
They narrowly missed out on making the competition’s elite tier after losing to Romania last year, with similar defeats coming in 2012 and 2013.
Watson said she felt “very happy” after seeing off Saar on the second day of Britain’s round-robin campaign in Tallinn.
“I played much better in this match, especially towards the end of the match. The score didn’t quite suggest how close the match was, especially at the beginning,” Watson said after Friday’s tie.
“I have got a pretty decent Fed Cup record so I’m just trying to keep that going.”
Konta twice served for the opening set against Kontaveit before losing the tie-break.
“I really had to trust in myself that I would be able to maintain the level longer than she could,” said the Briton. “There was very little in it and she made it incredibly tough for me.
“Every match is a battle, but I’m really enjoying being with the team and enjoying fighting here.”
In the doubles rubber, Anna Smith and Katie Boulter eased to a 6-1 6-1 victory to give Britain a 3-0 win in the tie.
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 progress – 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 pools.
Four pool winners go through to promotion play-offs on Saturday and two nations will then qualify for World Group II play-offs in April.
Britain are looking to progress to the World Group elite level for the first time since 1993.