Great Britain’s Fed Cup team scored another impressive victory over Latvia in the second of three Group I ties and now sit at the top of Pool C with six rubber wins and no losses thus far. Heather Watson gave the Brits a positive start with a straight sets win over Latvia’s No.2 player Diana Marcinkevica, which was followed up by British No.1 Johanna Konta comfortably fending off Jelena Ostapenko in the second rubber. Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae completed the whitewash with the win in the doubles.
This is an extremely tricky tie for Anne Keothavong’s Great Britain. On paper it looks like the British team should handle the Turks fairly comfortably, but Turkey’s No.2 player Ipek Soylu performs significantly better when she wears the red and white colours of her country.
Soylu is a player that is considerably inexperienced at WTA level. She plays most of her tennis on the ITF circuit, but has a remarkable record in Fed Cup. In singles rubbers she has a 10-1 win/loss record, which cannot be overlooked by the British team. Keothavong should prepare for this match taking into account the damage that Soylu can cause in the unique Fed Cup situation with a drastically different Fed Cup atmosphere and ignore her results on the regular tour.
Watson has more layers to her game than Soylu though. The forehand of Soylu’s is the better shot as she needs a lot of time to execute her windmill motion on the backhand side. Her forehand shot shoots through the court more than her other wing too. The key for Watson is attacking the backhand and executing that game plan with conviction and she should come through this match.
Prediction: Watson in three sets.
Johanna Konta vs Cagla Buyukakcay H2H: Konta leads 1-0
In the match featuring the two No.1 players of Great Britain and Turkey, Konta battles Cagla Buyukakcay in the second singles rubber. At the beginning of the season in Shenzhen, Konta lost just the two games to Buyukakcay and completely dominated the match in one of the best individual performances of the 2017 season to date.
Buyukakcay is a fierce competitor who will track every single ball down and try to make the match a living nightmare for her opponents with her foot speed from the back of the court, but she is not in great form. The Turkish No.1 is trying to hang on to her Top 100 status and needs to react fast in order to continue featuring in the main draw of Grand Slams. Last year at Roland Garros she became the first Turkish woman to feature at a Grand Slam tournament, but now is looking over her shoulder as she slowly slides down the rankings.
Buyukakcay is winless in 2017 and the run of losses may rise to six with a straight forward loss to Johanna Konta tomorrow.
Prediction: Konta in two sets.
Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae vs Cagla Buyukakcay and Ipek Soylu
It is a fantastic sight to see Laura Robson healthy again. She may not be anywhere near the level that she once was at, but it is significant in itself to see her back out on the tennis court alongside Jocelyn Rae in the doubles. One could argue that it is a purposeful move by Keothavong to reiterate that Robson is a major part of the her Fed Cup plans even with the considerable loss of form from the former Top 30 player.
Robson and Rae are undefeated in their two previous Pool C matches this week and could finish off the tie in the doubles against the Turkish opposition.
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