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Johanna Konta and Heather Watson inspire Great Britain to victory over Hungary and progress in Fed Cup

Great Britain’s women can start praying for the one thing none of them has ever experienced – a home Fed Cup tie – after they overcame Hungary on Saturday in the last match of their Tallinn zonal qualifiers. Johanna Konta scored the decisive win, a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 outclassing of 19-year-old Fanny Stollar. But Heather Watson arguably had the tougher task against another 19-year-old, Dalma Galfi, in the first match of the tie. Galfi has been close to the world’s top 100 and put up a strenuous fight before losing in three sets: 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Frustratingly for Hungary, Watson finished her win with a flukey bounce off the net cord that turned a regulation backhand into an unreturnable winner. The result improved her Fed Cup record to 20 singles wins from 27 matches – a percentage that even Virginia Wade, Britain’s most successful Fed Cupper, would admire. Konta’s victory maintained a 100 per cent record for Great Britain this week: eight wins from eight rubbers. Admittedly not all their rivals could muster their best players. For instance,  Friday’s  opponents Estonia declined to pick Kaia Kanepi, the big-hitting former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, after Kanepi demanded an €100,000 (£88,000) appearance fee. Yet the results show that Great Britain were the outstanding side in this competition. Even Latvia, with reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to call on, lost two rubbers over the course of the week. On this form, Great Britain look more than worthy of a place in the World Group, but they still need another victory – this time in a five-rubber tie like the controversial one in Constanta last year. The home-or-away play-offs against members of World Group II will begin on  April 22 , and we can only hope that the British captain Anne Keothavong does not find herself up against another opposite number as toxic as Ilie Nastase. Heather Watson beat Hungary's Dalma Galfi Credit: Getty Images At Tuesday’s Fed Cup draw, we will discover whether Great Britain will finally play on home soil for the first time since 1993. This extraordinarily long drought can be explained by two factors. The first problem was the team’s lack of firepower throughout the nineties and the 2000s, which left them stuck in the annual zonal qualifying event with no prospect of home-and-away ties in the Davis Cup mould. But then, since Judy Murray took over the captaincy in 2011, results have looked up, with Great Britain fighting their way out of the notoriously difficult group stage four times in seven attempts. Now, under Murray and her successor Anne Keothavong, Great Britain have just been plain unlucky. Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong at the Fed Cup Credit: Getty Images The Fed Cup’s random tie generator has thrown up three increasingly difficult play-off matches on foreign soil: first Sweden in 2012, then Argentina in 2013, and finally the nightmarishly difficult challenge of a trip to Constanta, Romania, last year. There were grimaces at the International Tennis Federation’s headquarters when that one came out of the hat. For all the flaws in British tennis, we are a grand-slam nation, and as such an odd absentee from the World Group. “The match was high quality from start to finish,” said Watson after her crucial win. “I’m absolutely knackered now because it was really physical out there.” Watson needed two attempts to serve the match out, and admitted: “I could have finished it a bit sooner. I had an absolute sitter, but it happens, and she did really well to stick in that point. “It’s been great fun in Tallinn, a lot of banter on and off the court. I always enjoy Fed Cup.”

French Open 2012

Many of tennis' greatest players worldwide gather in Paris, France for the French Open from May 22 to June 10.