BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Anna Karolina Schmiedlova picked up two wins against Great Britain to guide Slovakia to the inaugural Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in April.

Starting the day with Slovakia and Great Britain deadlocked at 1-1, Heather Watson kept British hopes alive after sweeping past Rebecca Sramkova in straight sets. Playing at the AXA Arena in Bratislava, the home crowd willed Sramkova on to a second set surge, but Watson pulled through to win 6-0, 7-5. 

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World No.199 Schmiedlova took the court, having scored Slovakia’s first point after a solid straight sets win over Watson, 6-2, 6-3. She got the job done again in two, easing past Harriet Dart with a 7-5, 6-3 victory in an hour and 42 minutes. 

“I was as nervous as I’ve always been but maybe I now deal with it better,” Schmiedlova told FedCup.com. “One of my goals is to appear more confident and positive on court, and that really worked in this match. 

“I haven’t played well previously in this competition, so getting the point for Slovakia was really important to me… Luckily we were on clay which helped me, and I was able to play really nice consistent tennis all the way through.”

Also into the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest is Belarus, who came back from a 1-2 deficit against the Netherlands to edge through in a nail-biting tie that came down to the deciding doubles rubber. 

After Kiki Bertens’ solid, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka put the Dutch ahead, Aliaksandra Sasnovich put in a major performance to take down Arantxa Rus in three sets, 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 and send them into a decider. 

Sabalenka and Sasnovich came back from a set down 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) in the thrilling final match, against the veteran duo of Bertens and Demi Schuurs to send Belarus through to the Final in Budapest. 

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