Bratislava, Feb 8 : Thanks to the new format of the women's tennis Fed Cup competition, team Slovakia has a strong chance of advancing to the final tournament to be held in April in Hungary's capital Budapest, only a two hour drive from Bratislava.
The only thing that is standing in Slovakia's way is a feisty opponent, team Britain. After the two opening singles clashes of day one of the World Group Qualifiers in Slovakia's capital, the home team is on the verge of advancing and leads Britain 2-0 in the best-of-five battle.
The second point was won by Slovakia's No. 1 Viktoria Kuzmova who triumphed in a thrilling, almost three-hour long match over team GB's No. 2 Harriet Dart 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
Dart put on a big fight on her Fed Cup debut, disregarding her opponent's 76 places higher WTA ranking but eventually succumbed to Kuzmova's fast, aggressive performance in the third set when she capitalized on her sixth match point. Kuzmova can seal the deal for her nation's team on Saturday against GB's No. 1 Heather Watson. The Britons have lost all four of their previous away ties in the Fed Cup, so their chances do not seem very promising.
Earlier on Friday, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova was not forced to bring out her big guns as Watson turned out to be easy prey, reminiscent of their previous encounter in the WTA tournament in Prague. Schmiedlova triumphed 6-2, 6-3 on her favorite clay surface of the National Tennis Centre in Bratislava, returning strong after a knee surgery kept her out of action for the better half of 2019. (UNI-XINHUA)