Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2022: Great Britain in dreamland with 3-0 win over Spain
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Get the latest updates from Great Britain's final match in Group C at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals as they take on Spain for a place in the semi-finals.
- Great Britain win all three rubbers to qualify for the semi-finals
- Heather Watson outfoxes Nuria Parrizas-Dias 6-0, 6-2
- Harriet Dart keeps Great Britain's hopes alive after win over Paula Badosa
- Alicia Barnett & Olivia Nicholls win 7-6(5), 6-2 in the deciding doubles rubber
Match three – Great Britain through to semi-finals after Barnett and Nicholls' doubles joy
"We knew we had a massive challenge on our hands," said Nicholls. "Hev [Heather] played a blinder and then Harriet has beaten Badosa and we won the doubles. I think a lot of people wrote us off and I think the team spirit and comradery meant we just wanted to do it for each other."
After their impressive victory to keep Great Britain in contention against Kazakhstan, Barnett and Nicholls proved themselves once again after earning themselves another straight-sets win to win the third and final rubber of the tie.
The stands were in raptures as the final deciding doubles rubber proved to be rich in quality, with both sides’ first serve percentage creeping above the 70% marker. With little separating the two teams, the opening set resulted in a nail-biting tiebreak, where Barnett and Nicholls withstood the pressure cooker to prevail after finding themselves a mini-break up.
From a breakless opening set to both side’s breaking at the first time of asking in the second; the battle was by no means over as Spain fought to stay in the race. However, after three consecutive breaks of serve, Barnett and Nicholls held onto a crucial hold before breaking for a second time to form a healthy lead, eventually taking the match in one hour and 34 minutes.
Match two – Dart keeps Great Britain’s semi-final hopes alive
Continuing the momentum from Watson’s victory against Parrizas-Diaz, Harriet Dart dazzled the Glasgow crowd with a 6-3, 6-4 win against the 2021 Indian Wells champion, Paula Badosa.
"I love playing for my country, it means so much to me. It’s more than just any day in any normal competition. We have an amazing support staff and an amazing team – this win is for them and all of you guys."
"I was so inspired by Heather’s performance this afternoon...[she] played a really good match and I just wanted to play half as good as she did – I feel like I put a good performance out there."
With great conviction, Dart was first out of the starting blocks, striking with venom to earn herself a break of serve as she took an early foothold in the match. Despite the world No.13 showing great tenacity, Dart was able to keep the Spaniard at bay, remaining consistent on the forehand side to claim the scoreboard advantage.
In the second set, the pendulum began to swing in Badosa’s favour, winning 82% of points on first serve to discover her momentum. However, finding the same formula as her compatriot before her, Dart dug deep to put the match to bed in straight-sets, banking Great Britain’s second point of the tie to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
Match one – Heather Watson equalises Sue Barker’s record after winning opening singles rubber
Great Britain entered their tie against Spain needing to win all three rubbers to book themselves a place in the semi-final, and it was the home side’s most experienced player, Heather Watson, who would lead the charge with a critical 6-0, 6-2 win over Spain’s Nuria Parrizas-Diaz.
"I think my tennis really enjoys playing at home," shared Watson. "I was really happy with my level today, I felt like I was playing super aggressive, really good tennis and I had so much fun out there."
With a fiery opening rally to set their encounter alight; Watson took the early initiative to break her opponent with ease, initiating a rhapsody of cries to erupt from the stands.
The Spaniard is known for being stubborn on the baseline, but Briton proved equally as stubborn, taking control of their long exchanges from the back of the court to finally blitz the opening set 6-0 before outfoxing the world No.72 6-2 in the second.
An emphatic performance by the 30-year-old led her to win a crucial point for the home nation whilst simultaneously equalising Sue Barker’s fifth ranking on the list for most Cup matches won by a British player.