Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers 2023: Great Britain vs France - Results & updates
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Get the latest from the CBS Arena in Coventry as Great Britain take on France for a place in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November. Follow the scores, the schedule and reaction.
Schedule & results
Result: Great Britain 1 - 3 France
- Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls claim victory over Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 3-6, 11-9
- Harriet Dart loses out to Garcia 6-1, 6-7(10), 6-1 to see France secure the tie
- Dart falls short to Alize Cornet 7-6(6), 7-6(3)
- Katie Boulter loses opening rubber to Caroline Garcia 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(2)
Match four: Barnett and Nicholls give British fans something to smile about with doubles win
"This week has been incredible and we just wanted to win for each other" Lissey said. "The atmosphere in here has been incredible and the girls on the sidelines as well – I think Liv and I burnt a lot of calories in the stands yesterday. It’s good to get a win at the end of the day."
Despite Great Britain having lost the tie earlier in the day, Barnett and Nicholls stepped onto the court with the same level of passion that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing. With little separating the two in terms of quality, the possibility of a seventh tie-break was fast approaching approaching; but Barnett and Nicholls tackled the pressure head on - breaking the French pairing to edge to a 6-5 lead before serving it out and claiming the set.
The tables soon turned in the second, with the French-duo finding an early breakthrough. After being given the chance to get back on serve at 3-5, Burel and Mladenovic remained composed – fending off the break point before going on to break the Brits once again to level the scoreboard and take the match to a decisive doubles tie-break.
Just when it looked like the match would fall in favour of the French at 8-2, Barnett and Nicholls went on a late comeback charge, winning five consecutive points and eventually clinching the win on their first match point.
Match three: Garcia proves too strong for Dart as France secure the tie
France's spot in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals was secured after top player Garcia claimed victory against Britain's Dart 6-1, 6-7(10), 6-1.
"We knew it would be a battle from the first point to the last one" said Garcia, "It proves why they (Great Britain) did so well in the Finals last year.
"I had to stay focused and keep playing my game, particularly in the third set it was very important. To get the point for France and qualify is great."
Garcia picked up where she left off on Friday night, launching an all-out attack on the Dart serve from high inside the baseline and breaking the British No.3 three times. In a seemingly fitting end to a dominant opening performance, Garcia sealed the set with an ace to silence the home crowd and put France one set away from tie victory.
The second set proved to be a stark contrast to the first. After going off court at the break between sets, Dart came out firing – increasing the accuracy and placement on her serve to hold out and force the French star to a tie-break. In a long nervy exchange, both players battled for any momentum in the tie-break and despite having two match points, Dart held her nerve to add another twist to the tale - coming out on top 12-10.
After a physically demanding end to the second set, Garcia made sure there was no room for error. France’s top player rallied up the double break before serving it out for tie and booking her nation's ticket to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November.
Match two: Dart falls short in tight-battle against Cornet
France’s Alize Cornet came out on top in a tight battle against Harriet Dart - prevailing 7-6(6), 7-6(2) to extend France’s lead in the qualifying tie heading into day two.
“I think we both gave our best on the court – it was super hard physically and I’m very happy to be through in two sets because a third would have been tough on both of us", said Cornet, "Today has been five tie-breaks, it’s been amazing and it’s just so, so close – we couldn’t let a single point go by and I think we did that.”
Eager to bring the tie back to level terms, Dart capitalised on a slow start from Cornet, clinching an early break to edge a 2-0 lead. But the opening set soon turned turbulent with both players struggling to find consistency in their service games, leading to a further five breaks of serve and an eventual tie-break. Despite being gifted a set point, the Brit struggled to convert, with the French star flashing some skilful drop shots to push over the line and claim the set.
In almost opposite fashion to the first set, the second stayed very close with both players struggling to break their opponents serve. The British No.3 stayed calm under pressure, saving four break points as they fought on to a fifth consecutive tie-break. However, the experience of the world No.70 shone through her strokes, as she dominated the tie-break and guided her nation to 2-0 lead in the qualifying tie.
Great Britain must now win the two singles and doubles rubbers tomorrow if they are to qualify for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November.
Match one: Boulter marginally misses out in opening rubber against Garcia
In a hard-fought battle of fine margins, Boulter fell just short against world No.5 Caroline Garcia in Great Britain’s first rubber against France, losing out 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(2).
“It was a crazy match – I mean three hours and 20 minutes is pretty rare in tennis,” said Garcia. “It was up and down with three tie-breaks; it just shows you how tight the match was. Katie played unbelievable, she’s a great player and I think she can do so much in tennis. I just had to fight, and it came down to a few points here and there.”
Boulter got off to a flying start out of the gate, making the most of her big-hitting groundstrokes to pile pressure on Garcia and break for a 4-2 lead. The French star started to show signs that she was growing into the match, forcing a tie-break, but five early double faults proved costly as Boulter edged to a one set lead.
Keeping her cool, Garcia raised her level from the off in the second set and when the chance arose, she put away a tidy half volley to break Boulter and silence the British crowd. A gutsy performance from the 26-year-old Brit saw her replicate her opponent’s feat from the opener in coming back to force a tie-break, but this time around the Garcia serve was firing on all cylinders – finding a couple of key aces to level the match.
The match looked to be heading to a career-best win for Boulter, who led 4-3 and a break to the good, but once again Garcia refused to go away. Firing brilliantly off her forehand, she broke to love and slowly continued to take a mantle on the contest, eventually sealing an epic match and all-important rubber for France on her third match point.