Johanna Konta and Heather Watson maintain Fed Cup bid

Johanna Konta, pictured, and Heather Watson fought hard for win

Johanna Konta, pictured, and Heather Watson fought hard for win

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Johanna Konta and Heather Watson came from a set down in the 
final-match decider as Great Britain kept alive their Fed Cup promotion hopes with a dramatic play-off victory over Croatia.

The British pair recorded a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 success against Ana Konjuh and Donna Vekic in the doubles after a surprise defeat for Konta left the teams level following the singles matches. Victory in Tallinn means Anne Keothavong’s team progress to a further play-off in April, which could see them reach the competition’s second tier – World Group II – for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

Britain had the perfect start yesterday and looked like they might wrap up the contest in the singles when Watson, pictured, began by comfortably beating Vekic in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

But world No.10 Konta, ranked 27 places higher than her opponent, was beaten 4-6, 3-6 by 19-year-old Konjuh to send the tie into a 
winner-takes-all doubles rubber.

Konta and Watson endured the worst possible start to the final match as the Croatians secured a double break to lead 3-0 and, despite some resistance, they eventually lost the first set 6-4.

Australian Open quarter-finalist Konta then caused some consternation by receiving treatment to her left ankle early in the second but she shrugged off the minor problem to help restore parity and force a deciding set.

Konta dropped the opening service game of the the third, double-faulting to give the Croatians an early advantage, but the next three games also went against the serve to leave it tied at 2-2 with the tension mounting.

The British duo finally put daylight between themselves and their rivaks to wrap up victory and continue their quest to gain promotion from Euro/Africa Zone Group I.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Keothavong. “I’m so proud of them.”

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