Great Britain were given a very difficult task in the play-off meeting of the Billie Jean King Cup. After the defeat in London, next year’s games in Europe-Africa Zone Group 1 await.
Lost 1-3 in play-off meeting with Great Britain (did not play double). However, as the Swedes provided good tennis, the opposition’s significantly higher-ranked players had to fight for victory.
– We had a clear goal all week and that was to win this match. When we gathered in the ring with the players before the game, we said we will complete what we came here for. “Unfortunately, we lost, but at the same time I’m proud of the girls’ effort,” says Billie Jean King Cup captain Johanna Larsen.
After Saturday’s win, Gajsa Rinaldo Persson had a tough match in first singles on Sunday. 58th-ranked Katie Boulder – who beat Keiza Hennemann yesterday – is on the other side of the net.
Gajsa had break points against him in the first service game but swept it and kept the momentum going at the start. Boulder gradually increased the tempo and broke for 3-1 after two double faults by the Swede.
Gajza had two break points in the next game – but missed a chance to break back in the set. 6-1 – Gajsa is set even better by Rinaldo Persson.
– Kajsa has been incredibly focused since day 1 and continues to get better and better. She’s looking for that feeling you want before these big matches and has done it brilliantly. I hope she will bring positivity to the personal effort that is already underway next week, says Johanna Larsen.
In the second set, the players started by breaking each other, where the Englishman responded to two double faults in the second game. After that, the players held their serves at 3-3. The singing eagle is long. It stood for a long time and had weight. Instead, it was a 5-3 break for Gajsa, who played with confidence and 40-0 and had three set balls. A good server return, a net roller and a double fault later made it 40-40. Gajza had another set point, but Boulder managed to go up 5-4 (instead of 6-3 for the Swede) and then held serve for 5-5.
Despite having two break points against him in the next game, Gajza won four straight balls to hold serve for 6-5. Boulder held serve and the set went to a tiebreak.
The Warriors followed closely at the start as Gajza converted from 3-4 to 5-4. Katie Boulder won her serve 6-5, a manageable match point and the set and the match for Great Britain.
– It would have been fun if the match had gone to three sets. How did Katie respond to the third and decisive stage? It’s something that still rubs off on you, says Johanna Larson.
Will Kaijsa Hennemann keep Sweden in a game that Great Britain has led 2-1? Opponents opted to play Harriet Dart in place of Katie Boulder, who fell to Gaja Rinaldo Persson on Saturday.
Both Keiza Hennemann and Harriet Dart held their serves at 3-3 as the tension eased and the entertainment value increased as players broke each other’s serves early. Then came the break. Harriet Dart then held serve for 5-3 and played with great confidence in front of a rousing home crowd at the Copper Box Arena.
However, Keiza kept the set alive with a break – a game that included a tasty set piece from the Swede.
The Swedish then came to a break at 5-5, but the British immediately broke back and then went home 7-5.
– Keiza did her best. It would have been fun to see if we could have gotten that altered match picture. Caijsa tried to mix up the game a bit more and raise the balls a bit more, but it might be too little too late.
The second set began with a break in the Briton’s first game, then the players held their own serve until the next break came and Harriet Dart homered against Keiza Henneman to make it 5-2 but a match for Great Britain as a whole.
Gaijsa, who is ranked 532nd in the WTA rankings, played a clearly recognized match against a significantly higher ranked player (138th).
– One must not forget that playing in this arena with such a big audience and Sweden behind you is not always an easy task. Great Britain did well and we congratulate them on their success, concludes Johanna Larsen:
– I’m definitely sad and disappointed that it didn’t work out, but at the same time I’m incredibly proud of the girls’ performance and the way they acted. We had three words all week, which were brave, strong and humble, and I think we’re leaving London fulfilling those words.
Katie Boulder – Gaja Rinaldo Persson 6-1, 7-6(5)
Harriet Dart – Kaija Henman 7-5, 6-2
The doubles match did not take place.
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