Fed Cup: GB beaten in Romania as Johanna Konta and Heather Watson lose

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GB out of Fed Cup after Watson loses

Great Britain have lost their Fed Cup World Cup Group II play-off in Romania, consigning them back to the Europe/Africa Zone.

It was 1-1 after Saturday's play, when host captain Ilie Nastase was banned for swearing at the umpire, Johanna Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong.

On Sunday, Simon Halep won 6-1 6-3 against Konta to put Romania in front.

Irina-Camelia Begu then beat Heather Watson 6-4 7-5 as Romania took an unassailable lead before the doubles.

Konta was left in tears after Nastase's conduct and, even though the world number seven still beat Sorana Cirstea on Saturday, she found Halep a tougher test.

Halep, ranked fifth in the world, raced into a 4-0 lead as she made the most of her clay-court knowhow and broke to love in taking the first set in 27 minutes.

Konta gave signs of a comeback by breaking Halep and taking a 3-1 lead in the second set, but the Romanian responded by impressively taking five games in a row to win the match.

Russell Fuller on Twitter
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller has spotted Ilie Nastase, who is supposed to be banned from the tie

After that result, world number 113 Watson knew she had to win against 33rd-ranked Begu and she was involved in a tight match with plenty of quality and drama.

There were five breaks of serve in the first set, which Begu took, but none in the second until Watson lost the seventh game.

The Briton broke back but then lost her serve again at 5-5 and Begu served out for a match that lasted two hours and two minutes to secure victory for Romania.

Britain's Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae defeated Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu in the dead rubber.

Konta denies 'overreacting'

Illie Nastase
Former world number one Nastase (left) was dismissed after a discussion with officials

Cirstea claimed Konta had "overreacted" by crying in their match but the British number one has defended her actions.

The incident that led to Nastase being dismissed on Saturday happened when Cirstea was 2-1 up in the second set.

After Konta and Keothavong had complained of calling out from the crowd at 1-1, former world number one Nastase was involved in a discussion with officials in which he used foul language before verbally abusing the British player and her captain.

He was sent off the court by referee Andreas Egli and, after initially taking a seat in the stands, was then escorted back to the locker room.

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Konta went 3-1 down after her serve was broken in the next game and was in tears before the umpire suspended play for about 25 minutes.

"With all due respect to Sorana, she was not in my shoes at that end of the court being verbally threatened," said the Briton. "Any abuse is not all right.

"But when it's a couple of metres away from you, screaming at you, I think that's a different ball game.

"It's not something that you truly know how it affects you until you experience it, so I do believe she may have been slightly unaware of the events that happened."

Halep defended the crowd following her win on Sunday and, on Nastase - whose has been suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) while it investigates the incidents, said "maybe he did mistakes".

"I was not there right on the court but I heard some things so I cannot defend anything here," she added.

"I don't know exactly what happened but the people from ITF, they will know what they're going to do."

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Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

It was a classy performance from Simona Halep, who was superior in every department. She has just indicated in a TV on-court interview that she really liked her chances - as she feels she has "dominated" previous matches against Konta, despite losing both.

The last few games of the Begu-Watson match were a reminder of the drama Fed Cup and Davis Cup matches usually throw up.

It is not a weekend we will forget in a hurry, but there is no doubt the best team won.

The zonal competition of Euro Africa Zone 1 beckons once again for the British team in February next year. It is a routine they are tiring of.

USA v Belarus in the final

The United States will take on Belarus in the Fed Cup final after overcoming defending champions Czech Republic on Sunday.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe downed Kristyna Pliskova and Katerina Siniakova 6-2 6-3 in the crucial doubles of their semi-final in Florida for a 3-2 winning margin.

The US are 17-time champions and will be facing debutants Belarus in Minsk on November 11-12.

Belarus made the final by defeating Switzerland 3-2 in their semi-final by sweeping after winning both the reverse singles on Sunday.

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