HEATHER Watson was happy to seal victory for Great Britain against Portugal at the Fed Cup yesterday after suffering the side’s first defeat of the week in singles.
The British No 1 was beaten 6-1, 6-4 by Michelle Larcher De Brito, who is ranked almost 100 places lower than her, which set up a deciding doubles rubber after Laura Robson had opened the tie in Israel with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Margarida Moura.
Captain Judy Murray opted to stick with Watson and Robson for the doubles rather than call on Anne Keothavong or Johanna Konta and the pair were dominant throughout against Larcher De Brito and Joana Vale Costa, winning 6-2, 6-1.
Watson said: “I didn’t play well at all today. My opponent, on the other hand, played fantastic and, when you mix those two, that’s what happens.
“I’m very happy that I could turn it around in the doubles. I think Laura and I are a great team and we combine really well together. We were very excited to get the win.”
Watson, 20, and 19-year-old Robson are unbeaten together in Fed Cup doubles and extended Britain’s record in Pool B to two wins from two matches in Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
Robson only played doubles against Bosnia on Thursday – not losing a game alongside Konta – and was happy to blow away the cobwebs from a three-week break after the Australian Open.
The teenager said: “I felt quite rusty since I hadn’t played a match since Melbourne. It was nice to get the team off to a 1-0 lead before Heather’s match.”
Britain are likely to face a much stiffer test today in their final round robin match against unbeaten Hungary.
Timea Babos is a top-100 player while Greta Arn is hugely experienced. The winner will progress to a play-off tomorrow against the winners of Pool D, with the winners of that going forward to a World Group II promotion play-off in April.
Britain got to that stage last season and have high hopes of going one better this time.