Nice Britain must battle again from behind to succeed in the Billie Jean King Cup remaining after Heather Watson misplaced the opening rubber of the semi-final in opposition to Australia in Glasgow.
Watson, 30, misplaced 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to Storm Sanders as Britain attempt to attain the ultimate for the primary time since 1981.
If Harriet Dart loses to Ajla Tomljanovic within the subsequent singles rubber, Australia will safe victory.
If the Briton wins, the best-of-three tie will go to a deciding doubles.
Nice Britain had performed their earlier two ties within the night and the change to a morning begin on Saturday appeared to have an effect on Watson.
“I believe I simply did not really feel as recent as I did then,” she mentioned. “It’s totally completely different taking part in at 10am when we’ve got been having late begins.
“[But] I actually loved being on the market on courtroom in the present day once more.”
Nice Britain have been the underdogs all through the competitors and face one other uphill job to succeed in the ultimate after Watson’s defeat.
However one factor we’ve got discovered about Anne Keothavong’s facet this week is to not write them off.
Having initially didn’t qualify for the occasion, they have been handed a spot because the host nation and put right into a tough group with Spain and Kazakhstan, who’re each ranked greater than the Britons.
They’d additionally suffered one other a blow earlier than the 12-team finals began when Emma Raducanu – the 2021 US Open champion and Britain’s highest-ranked participant – was dominated out by means of damage.
After shedding to Kazakhstan on Tuesday, they might have been eradicated earlier than even taking part in Spain on Thursday.
However Spain, led by former world quantity two Paula Badosa, gained 3-0 in opposition to Kazakhstan of their opening group match, that means Nice Britain then wanted to beat them 3-0 – which they did in a shocking efficiency that Keothavong described as “one thing actually particular”.
Watson was sensible in Thursday’s must-win group tie in opposition to five-time champions Spain because the hosts reached the final 4, however couldn’t attain the identical stage in opposition to an opponent ranked 104 locations beneath her.
Sanders is healthier than her present rating of 237 suggests, illustrated by her current type on the ITF Tour and he or she has taken that into the BJK Cup Finals this week.
Beginning confidently and aggressively, the 28-year-old dominated Watson from the early exchanges and that led to a break for 2-1 within the opening set from which Watson couldn’t get better.
The British quantity six, backed by noisy help from the largest crowd of the week, broke for 2-0 within the second set however couldn’t maintain on to the lead as Sanders recovered to earn her fifth win of the week.
“I do not really feel like I performed in addition to I did within the first match [against Spain], I felt a bit heavier in the present day, missed much more first serves,” mentioned Watson, who gained solely 57% of her first serves.