Great Britain’s Fed Cup team must travel to Argentina for their World Group II playoff in April, a tie that could see them finally promoted out of the Euro/Africa Group I.
Coach Judy Murray will lead Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta to South America where they face lower-ranked opposition on clay in Buenos Aires.
They successfully navigated through a group and finals stage to get to this point, defeating Bulgaria in a last tie 2-0. Yet Argentina, who are only one place above Great Britain in the Fed Cup rankings, pose an entirely different threat from those teams faced earlier this February.
For although their singles players don’t rank up to much – Paula Ormaechea their top-ranked player at 195 in the world – the fact the tie will be on clay will greatly favour the Argentines.
They lost 3-2 to Sweden in World Group II this February, falling to a side that beat Great Britain 4-1 in the playoffs last year. The tie was close and Argentina took a two-match lead: Ormaechea beat world number 70 Johanna Larsson in straight sets, while Florencia Molinero (179) took down Sofia Arvidsson (38) in three sets.
The Buenos Aires clay certainly played a part and although Sweden had enough to eventually win the tie 3-2, GB coach Murray will be wary of how tough their playoff tie will be.
Watson and Robson are still relatively new to the circuit, as is Konta, and playing in front of a spirited crowd on a surface that favours their opponents will certainly prove testing.
Great Britain should have enough in their arsenal, however, and if it comes down to our doubles team Konta and Robson showed their clinical partnership with a 6-0 6-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovinian opponents this month.
Argentina v Great Britain, World Group II playoff
20-21 April, Buenos Aires