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Summary

  1. GB's Heather Watson & Johanna Konta lose deciding doubles rubber as Japan win tie 3-2
  2. Miyu Kato & Makoto Ninomiya win 3-6 6-3 6-3 in Miki
  3. Watson lost 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to Kurumi Nara
  4. Konta beat Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-3 in Sunday's opening singles
  5. GB's 25-year wait to play World Group extended

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye

Heather Watson
Getty Images

Well, it wasn't to be for Great Britain's Fed Cup team. They battled hard, produced moments of great tennis, but ultimately came up short. Agonisingly short.

You can read again how it happened here, also the place where will bring you all the reaction from the GB team when we get it.

And keep an eye on our tennis index later for our Anne Keothavong column, plus a report on the Monte Carlo Masters final. Can Kei Nishikori stop Rafael 'The King of Clay' Nadal? Hmmm, we're not sure he can...

Russell Fuller

BBC tennis correspondent in Miki

That’s the fourth time in seven years Britain have fallen at the final hurdle and so will play in the Europe/Africa Group I again next year. They were beaten by the better team in the doubles - Kato and Ninomiya served impressively in that deciding set, and neither Konta nor Watson were at their best. Sport can be cruel, and Watson seemed very emotional as the Japanese team celebrated.

GB lose to Japan

GB miss out on Fed Cup promotion

Here's how a thrilling tie panned out....

Heather Watson 2-6 3-6 Naomi Osaka

GB 0-1 Japan

Johanna Konta 6-4 6-2 Kurumi Nara

GB 1-1 Japan

Johanna Konta 6-3 6-3 Naomi Osaka

GB 2-1 Japan

Heather Watson 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 Kurumi Nara

GB 2-2 Japan

Johanna Konta/Heather Watson 6-3 3-6 3-6 Miyu Kato/Makoto Ninomiya

GB 2-3 Japan

GB 6-3 3-6 3-6 Japan

Some on-court interviews are being conducted with the winning doubles pair. Unfortunately my Japanese is a little sketchy so I'm not sure what they're saying.

We're so happy. We had to fight until the very last ball. Etc, etc.

GB 6-3 3-6 3-6 Japan

That's the fourth time in seven years that Great Britain has fallen at this hurdle and they will compete in the Europe Africa zone again next year.

I'd imagine it's going to be a long flight back to Blighty for Anne Keothavong and her team.

GB 6-3 3-6 3-6 Japan

Joyous scenes for the Japanese. Makoto Ninomiya and Miyu Kato, along with star player Naomi Osaka on the sideline, break out into beaming smiles as the Bourbon Beans Dome celebrates in unison. Apart from that corner of British red, white and blue of course...

Game, set and match

GB 6-3 3-6 3-6 Japan

Heartbreak for Great Britain. Japan are promoted to the World Group of the Fed Cup. Britain's 25-year wait goes on...

Japan earn a third match point and this time they take it in style. Jo Konta's second serve is seized upon by Makoto Ninomiya, who slices apart Konta and Watson with a perfectly-timed forehand return winner.

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-5 (40-40) Japan

This is too much to take. The British hang on for dear life, saving two match points as Kato pumps one long...

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-5 (15-40) Japan

The Japanese go 30-15 ahead, no, make that 40-15 as Konta's crouching forehand goes agonisingly long.

Two match points for Japan. Two TIE points for Japan...

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-5 (15-15) Japan

First blood to Japan as they go 15-0 ahead thanks to Kato's forehand - and a huge chunk of the net-cord. The British level before Konta has a moan to the umpire about something or other...

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-5 Japan

Anne Keothavong crouches down in front of her players, delivering a team-talk that needs to be of Sir Alex Ferguson proportions.

Konta and Watson can't get near the Ninomiya serve, however, Konta lamping a forehand long on game point.

A comfortable hold for the hosts and now Konta must serve out to make Japan serve out the tie.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

Britain broke twice in the first set and once in the second set so they can do it. Mix up the returns and be ready at the net.

Japan break

GB 6-3 3-6 3-4 Japan*

Britain save one of those break points when Ninomiya goes long with a forehand. Can they save the second? No! Konta can't pick up a net volley and the Japanese celebrate.

Japan take the first break of the final deciding set of the match. The final deciding set of the tie. Of the Fed Cup campaign...

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-3 Japan

This match has more swings and roundabouts then your local kids' playground. Again it is Japan's turn to take another good look at the British serve, 15-30 becoming 15-40 when Konta can't return a net volley to safety.

Two break points for Japan...

*GB 6-3 3-6 3-3 Japan

A glimpse of an opening for GB at 15-30... that disappears when Ninomiya converts an instinctive net volley and the home team go on to hold when Konta goes long with two defensive returns from deep. The very definition of a gutsy hold right there.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

Unbelievable effort from Konta, showing the desire that she has to tough it out in that game.

GB save four break points to hold

GB 6-3 3-6 3-2 Japan*

Japan rack up another break point... then they try to target Watson at the net. She holds firm and when Kato switches focuses onto Konta, the Japanese player can't execute the backhand and finds the net.

Britain fight back to game point... this would be a massive hold... they've got it. Ninomiya's shoulders slump south as she lumps a forehand into the net.

*GB 6-3 3-6 2-2 Japan

Make that three break points saved for Great Britain. The Japanese go long down the backhand side and we're into deuce...

*GB 6-3 3-6 2-2 Japan

Japan have just stuck their foot on the gas. They earn three break points at 40-0, Konta saving one with a super second serve that goes way out wide.

Then Kato cracks one into the net from the baseline. Two down, one to go...

*GB 6-3 3-6 2-2 Japan

This is like the final round of a heavyweight boxing scrap now. Both know the bell is coming and both want a knockout.

All four players are swinging at the ball freely, Konta's burning backhand putting Britain in the mix at 40-30, only for Watson's long forehand from the back of the court to end the game.

Russell Fuller

BBC tennis correspondent in Miki

That was a top effort by the Japanese team, whose only experience of Fed Cup was an unbeaten run in this year’s zonal qualifiers in Delhi.

There are many tense faces on the British team bench as the decider of the decider continues. And it’s a very long way to come to lose the decider of a decider.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

That sent the message down to their opponents as Heather really stepped up to the plate.

GB 6-3 3-6 2-1 Japan*

Superb serving from Heather Watson digs Great Britain out of a little hole. They trail 15-0 before Watson fires down a hat-trick of aces and another meaty first serve to earn a wonderful hold.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

Sometimes it can really help you when something like that happens on court - it can get the fire in the belly and the adrenaline running.

*GB 6-3 3-6 1-1 Japan

Oooh, a bit of needle. Heather Watson calls foul play as the Japan pair scream when they think Kato has hit a winner down the line. Problem is Watson is there to get strings to the ball and says she was put off by the noise. The umpire disagrees and on we go....

Will that put a bit more fire in the British bellies? They ask a few questions of the Japanese serve, getting to 40-30 - but a brilliant point full of baseline rallies, net battles, lobs and winners sees the home team over the line.

GB 6-3 3-6 1-0 Japan*

A confident start to the final set for Great Britain. Jo Konta's service game is a solid as a rock, helping them to 40-15 lead, Ninomiya miscuing a service return as the visitors take the game.

*GB 6-3 3-6 0-0 Japan

Two days, five matches, a place in the Fed Cup World Group boils down to this: one final set in this doubles rubber...

Great Britain to serve first... strap yourselves in folks.

Game and second set - Japan

GB 6-3 3-6 Japan

Japan seal it with their third set point. Going all the way!

Kato serve out wide is hit back by Watson, straight at Ninomiya who instinctively hammers in a winning volley.

GB 6-3 3-5 Japan*

Britain get a head start as Konta thumps a return down the line that Kato can't return. Ninomiya shows a lovely touch to level at 15-15, but Konta steps in from the baseline to hammer a cross-court forehand winner for 15-30.

The door is ajar for the Brits, only for the Japanese to slam it shut with two quick points.

Second set point... Watson fires in a forehand that is too hot for Kato's racket to handle. Back to deuce...

GB save set point and hold

GB 6-3 3-5 Japan*

Now, can Watson and Konta extend this set further? It's the former serving and an ace is a great way to start the game. However, from 30-0 up the British pairing are pegged back to 30-30 after a double fault. A set point for Japan but a deep serve saves it. Konta with a no-messing-about overhead and it's advantage GB. Oh, that's fabulous from Konta - a delicate volley creates the opening for a decisive put-away. The comeback is still on.

GB break

*GB 6-3 2-5 Japan

Game on? Game on! Great Britain claw back one of the breaks, Konta whacking a ferocious forehand down the line on Ninomiya's serve. High fives all round and a shot of confidence for the Brits.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

So many of these games have been close, there is still an opportunity to claw themselves back in this set.

GB 6-3 1-5 Japan*

Important game for the British girls, that one. Not only have they avoided the bagel, it means they will serve first in the deciding set should the Japanese serve this next game out.

Not that they are giving up hope yet of rescuing this set, of course. Konta seals this game with a perfectly-executed overhead.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

It has been close but Konta and Watson could look to be more clinical on returns. On the whole, the level has been very high.

*GB 6-3 0-5 Japan

Almost everything Ninomiya and Kato are touching at the moment goes to gold. Even when the British pair look like having a sniff of a break, the Japanese pull a rabbit of the hat.

They hold and now it's up to Johanna Konta to serve and avoid a bagel...

Double break for Japan

GB 6-3 0-4 Japan*

Not sure what's happened here. The Japanese have rallied big time.

Watson is the only player not to be broken on serve so far, but that record is in serious danger. GB lead 30-15 until Watson sends a backhand long and then bats a backhand into the net.

Break point... and the Japanese take it with a wonderful inside-out forehand from deep that somehow loops over Konta and dusts the line.

Mel South

Former GB Fed Cup tennis player

What volleying skills and reactions once again from Kato.

*GB 6-3 0-3 Japan

Finally Japan edge over the line. Kato would be brilliant at Hit The Hippo (or was it Whack A Mole?) - her reactions are so quick. Another net volley clinches the game.

GB 6-3 0-2 Japan*

Trading punches like two boxers going towards the bell are these four players now. Britain land one, Japan counter punch and on it goes.

Japan earn an umpteenth advantage through more cat-like reactions from Kato, Konta showing she has sharp instincts too to fend off the game point.

This game is clocking in at more than 12 minutes by my watch...

Japan save four break points

GB 6-3 0-2 Japan*

Japan have the momentum at the start of this second set, so a break of serve will be a roadblock from the Brits.

Konta and Watson spurn two break points as the Japanese battle back to deuce, miss another then earn a fourth when Konta cracks a forehand down the line.

Watson rakes a forehand long though and it's back to deuce once again...