Fed Cup: Great Britain lose to Slovakia in qualifying tie

Great Britain failed to reach the inaugural Fed Cup Finals by losing their qualifying tie to Slovakia.

Harriet Dart’s 7-5 6-3 defeat by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova gave Slovakia an unassailable 3-1 lead in Bratislava.

Heather Watson had earlier kept Great Britain in the tie with a 6-0 7-5 win over Rebecca Sramkova.

Slovakia qualify for April’s 12-nation finals in Budapest, while GB will play a qualifying tie to get back to this same stage in next year’s competition.

They returned to the World Group for the first time since 1996 by beating Kazakhstan in a play-off last April, and were among eight seeded nations in the qualifiers.

World number 74 Watson got a decisive break in the 10th game of the second set when Sramkova went long, with the Slovak then continuing to rack up her groundstroke errors to allow Watson to serve out the match with ease.

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