(Reuters) - Hosts Romania beat Britain in their controversial Fed Cup World Cup play-off in Constanta on Sunday, with both Johanna Konta and Heather Watson failing to win their respective singles rubbers for the visitors.
Simona Halep beat world number seven Konta 6-1 6-3, while Irina-Camelia Begu saw off Watson with a 6-4 7-5 victory to seal the tie for the Romanians before the doubles.
World number five Halep started strongly against Konta on Sunday, opening up a 4-0 lead en route to winning the first set in 27 minutes.
Konta improved in the second to go 3-1 up, but Halep’s superiority on clay shone through as she won five games in a row to clinch the match.
Konta was left in tears on Saturday apparently because of remarks made by Romanian captain Ilie Nastase during her match with Sorana Cirstea, which resulted in play being briefly suspended. [nL3N1HU06C]
Nastase was eventually banned from the tie because of “unsportsmanlike conduct” and had his accreditation removed by the International Tennis Federation, which has launched an investigation into his conduct.
Konta defended herself after Cirstea said on Sunday that she had “overreacted” by crying in their match.
“With all due respect to Sorana, she was not in my shoes at that end of the court being verbally threatened,” Konta was quoted as saying by British media. “Any abuse is not all right.
“But when it’s a couple of meters 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.”
Watson could not beat Begu to keep Britain’s hopes alive, but the visitors gained a consolation win after Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae beat Halep and Monica Niculescu in the doubles dead rubber.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar