Emma Raducanu-led Great Britain squad lose Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers to Czechs | Tennis | Sport

Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup squad fell on the last hurdle on Saturday and misplaced their qualifier tie to the Czech Republic within the decisive doubles match. It was Emma Raducanu’s BJK Cup debut and the 19-year-old led the squad because the No 1 participant however discovered herself injured on Saturday earlier than Harriet Dart compelled the doubles match, finally falling alongside Katie Swan.

It is the second consecutive yr that the British BJK Cup squad has did not win their qualifier tie and attain the BJK Cup Finals. It means Great Britain won’t be in with an opportunity to win the ‘world cup of women’s tennis’ in 2022 and as a substitute will go right into a play-off in the identical week because the finals for the possibility to return to the qualifier stage subsequent yr, or threat being relegated additional into the Group I stage.

Raducanu was the lead participant of the squad this weekend, successful her first-ever skilled match on a clay court docket and her debut BJK Cup match on Friday 7-5 7-5 over the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova, conserving her nation alive after Dart suffered a 6-1 6-0 loss to the Czech group’s prime participant Marketa Vondrousova. But issues went south for the US Open champion on Saturday when she suffered blistering on her proper foot throughout her 6-1 6-1 defeat to Vondrousova, admitting she felt “helpless” on court docket.

It was then Dart’s flip to maintain Britain within the tie when she defeated Linda Fruhvirtova 6-0 5-7 6-2 to take the qualifier all the way down to the wire within the decisive doubles match, the place she partnered Katie Swan to tackle Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova with Raducanu injured and unable to compete once more.

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The Czech duo confirmed why they have been the favourites within the doubles as they took the opening set 6-1, although they wanted 40 minutes after various prolonged video games that went to a number of deuces. Dart and Swan managed to present themselves a lift by opening the second set with a break however have been instantly damaged again by the world Nos 32 and 66.

It was a fourth-consecutive sport for Vondrousova and Muchova as they fended off two break factors from the Brits however Dart and Swan went on their very own run of video games as they received issues again degree at 4-4. But it wasn’t to be for Great Britain within the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup as Vondrousova and Muchova broke one last time to win the doubles match 6-1 7-5 and clinch the tie for Czech Republic, permitting them to progress to the BJK Cup Finals later this yr.

Last yr, Britain confronted Slovakia on the similar stage within the qualifiers the place they suffered a extra one-sided 3-1 loss, failing to even make it to the decisive doubles match. It put them into the 2021 playoffs the place they defeated Mexico at house in London 3-1 to search out themselves again within the qualifier this yr in opposition to the Czech Republic.

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And the British squad can be hoping to repeat final yr’s sample, getting by means of the playoffs to search out themselves again within the qualifiers as soon as extra in 2023 the place they will hopefully make it third time fortunate and at last qualify for BJK Cup Finals week as one of many prime 12 groups combating for the title.

But all hope is not misplaced simply but as Britain is bidding to grow to be a number nation for the Finals to capitalise on the piqued curiosity in tennis, particularly ladies’s tennis following Raducanu’s historic US Open win final September. If the LTA is profitable of their bid, the British squad will obtain a wildcard to the finals.

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