Katie Boulter admitted Great Britain face a “battle” against underdogs Sweden on Sunday after Jodie Burrage suffered a nightmare defeat on her Billie Jean King Cup debut. British No.2 Burrage won the first four games against world No.372 Kajsa Rinaldo Persson before collapsing to a horrible loss in the soldout Copper Box Arena. Boulter then responded by thrashing Swedish No.2 Caijsa Hennemann to leave the playoff level at 1-1 going into the reverse singles and the doubles on Sunday.
Despite missing her two top players, Swedish captain Johanna Larsson played mind games by claiming: “I feel like the Brits have the pressure on them and it will be exciting.”
And British No.1 Boulter said: “We’ve got a battle going into tomorrow. These girls have got nothing to lose. They’re coming out and having a swing and you can see how well they play .
“They’ve got no pressure at all. It’s my job to do what I can and I know that girls are going to do what they can and we’re going to fight our little hearts out for it. We move on and we get ready to battle tomorrow. Jodie is a tough cookie and she will be back.”
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Burrage had raced into a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes against the Swedish No.1 – and then disintegrated to lose 12 of the next 13 games. The British No.2 made 31 unforced errors and had her serve broken six times as she lost 6-4 6-1 in an excruciating 80-minute defeat.
In her post-match press conference, world No.93 Burrage fought back tears as she admitted: “It is tough to take. Even the nerves before, I have not felt like that before ever. Even stepping out on Centre Court at Wimbledon. It doesn’t even compare to this.
“It is so different playing for yourself and playing for your team. That is why it hurts even more because I am hurting for other people. That is why I am **** off with myself even more than I have ever been.
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“I gave everything I had today and I just wasn’t good enough. And that is what is **** really if you excuse my French.”
Boulter needed only 77 minutes to beat world No.532 Caijsa Hennemann 6-2 6-1. The GB captain will now have to decide whether to give Burrage another chance in the reverse singles on Sunday- or call in doubles players Harriet Dart or Heather Watson.
Britain were heavy favourites coming into the home playoff with two players in the top 100 and no Swedish players ranked in the top 370. Keothavong said: “I would expect her (Larsson) to say that and she is right. We have got work to do tomorrow.”
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