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Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge

La Cartuja Stadium, Seville, Spain 13 - 20 November 2024

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Harriet Dart celebrates her victory at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2022 against Spain
GB Teams

Billie Jean King Cup Finals 2022: Great Britain vs Spain – Three things we learnt

• 3 MINUTE READ

As we all catch our breath after a drama-filled win for the British team to book their place in the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals - here are three key learnings we took from their 3-0 victory over Spain.

Pressure is a privilege

The words of Heather Watson on Twitter just hours before the tie started – and she was bang on the money.

With Great Britain needing to win all three rubbers to qualify for the semi-finals, Watson got the team off to the perfect start with an emphatic display against Nuria Parrizas-Diaz – winning 6-0, 6-2.

The Spaniard – who defeated Yulia Putintseva the day before – couldn’t handle the level of hitting coming from Watson’s end of the court with the Brit putting on a show in the opening stages.

The most experienced player in the British squad, Watson’s trademark backhand was in full flight, with 13 winners to her opponents four in the first set and as she refused to take her foot off the gas in the second. In one of her best victories for GB in her career, Watson showed the quality that has seen her reach the top 30 in the world and demonstrated why she’s such an important member of the team.

Not to mention that Watson’s brilliant performance etches her name in the history books, overtaking Sue Barker to become fifth in all-time match winners for GB.

You then add to that a brilliant upset win from Harriet Dart against the former world No.2 and a deciding doubles victory from Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls, and you can’t question if it’s a privilege they relish.

A fast start can make all the difference

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With such high stakes on each rubber and no real margin for error, fast starts were always going to be important if the Brits were going to deliver. No problem for Watson and Dart.

Both players capitalised on sluggish opening games from their Spanish counterparts to break straight away and built momentum from there.

Spurred on by their fast and encouraging starts to the match, as well as a British crowd in full voice, Watson and Dart took a stronghold on their matches. Watsons’s groundstrokes were at a level above Parrizas-Diaz from begin to end, as the 30-year-old blew her opponent off the court in just an hour and eight minutes.

Facing an even taller task, taking on the world No.13, Dart got off to an electric start and broke Badosa three times in the first set alone. Dart expertly worked the 2021 Indian Wells champion from side-to-side with a mix of beautiful shot making, leaving Badosa to wrack up the error count.

Her quick start gave her the platform and confidence she needed in the second set. Always on the front foot and playing without fear, she stepped up to save break points on both her first service games and broke at 5-4 to close out one of the biggest wins of her career.

Doubles is a game of inches

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It was all eyes on the Emirates Arena for a deciding doubles match between Great Britain and Spain – arguably the best drama team tennis has to offer.

If we learnt anything from the long and tough battles we saw in the same stadium at the Davis Cup Finals only a few weeks before, it’s that high pressure doubles contests often bring out the closest of matches – and this battle didn’t disappoint.

With a spot in the semi-finals on the line, the in-form Barnett and Nicholls stepped up to the plate to edge out a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova.

But the score line only tells half the story. Ultimately it came down to a few big points and the Brits always proved to have the clinical edge. Not only did they save five break points in the first set, but in the second they won three games on deciding deuce points, two of which were to hold and stay in front.

It's winning by those fine margins that breathes confidence into your game and now heading to a semi-final against Australia, Barnett and Nicholls will fancy their chances at beating anyone.

Get your Billie Jean King Cup tickets NOW

The Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals, the women’s world cup of tennis, take place at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, from 8-13 November. Get your tickets to see Great Britain vs Australia in Saturday's semi-final below:

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