KORTRIJK, Belgium - With her team trailing 2-1 overall on Sunday, Carla Suárez Navarro was the heroine for the Spanish Fed Cup team against Belgium.
The 30-year-old first defeated Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets to force a fifth rubber, before partnering Garbiñe Muguruza to win the deciding match, 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2, and send Spain back to the World Group after a two-year absence.
With the tie even at 1-1 entering Sunday's play, Ysaline Bonaventure, subbed in for Alison van Uytvanck, stunned Muguruza in the first singles match of the day, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.
"So it was such a great feeling to play in front of the whole crowd. To get the support from my family and also the fans in Belgium. Fed Cup is something special. You don’t only play for yourself - you play for yourself and the team."
However, Suárez Navarro never allowed Wickmayer to capitalize on the momentum of her home crowd, breaking early in each set to quell the home side's spirits in the fourth rubber.
The Spanish No.2 capitalized on 26 unforced errors from the former US Open semifinalist, opening up 3-0 leads in each set to cruise to the win in just 55 minutes.
In the deciding doubles, the Spanish duo rallied from 3-0 down in the opener, but were unable to capitalize on four early break points in the second game of the second set which would have strengthened their grip on the match.
Buoyed by the effort, the Belgians broke immediately after saving serve, and were never even taken to decue again as they forced a final set in the winner-take-all match.
However, the Spanish duo pulled away in the end, with the final match time of the doubles clocking in at two hours and 13 minutes, by winning the last four games of the match.
"It was a very tough tie. I'm very happy to win the doubles with Carla," Muguruza, who lost both of her singles matches on the weekend, said.
"I think she played incredible, and thanks to Carla, we had a chance for the doubles. I was really happy to win one match."