Fed Cup: Great Britain play-off hopes ended by Belarus

Heather Watson and Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka consoles Heather Watson after her straight-sets victory

Great Britain's hopes of reaching the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs are over after Johanna Konta and Heather Watson lost singles matches to Belarus.

Konta was thrashed 6-0 6-1 by Olga Govortsova and Watson lost 6-4 6-1 to Victoria Azarenka.

Judy Murray's team had rallied from the brink of elimination to beat Ukraine and set up a shoot-out with Belarus.

But Govortsova and Azarenka's wins gave Belarus an unassailable 2-0 lead and put them through to April's play-offs.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery
"Defeat by Azarenka's Belarus in the play-off was no great surprise and the emergence of Anna Smith and Jocelyn Rae as a successful doubles team, plus the imminent return of Laura Robson, gives some cause for optimism next time. The pity is that GB must wait 12 months to try again."

"Today just didn't happen for us," said GB captain Judy Murray. "It was very disappointing for us after such a good day yesterday and everyone played so well with huge team spirit and desire to get into the play-off.

"In the first match Jo just couldn't find her form at all but Olga Govortsova played incredibly well and made it very difficult for Jo to get into the match.

"Heather was up against one of the best players in the world and I thought she got closer than the score probably suggested, but maybe wasn't quite as consistent as she needed to be to break down that level of player."

The Fed Cup is limited to just three weeks in the schedule and, although a review of the structure is under way, by 2016 it will be 23 years since Britain's women last played on home soil.

"It is all over for us for another year and we have 12 months to try and help the girls improve and get ready to come back and challenge for this zone again," added Murray.

Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka is a former world number one but is currently ranked 49

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