05302017

Video & report: GB’s Konta levels Fed Cup tie after Nastase sent off & play suspended

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Fed Cup: Play suspended as Johanna Konta leaves court in tears

Johanna Konta recovered from leaving the court in tears and a suspension in play to beat Sorana Cirstea and level Britain’s Fed Cup tie with Romania.

The hosts’ captain Ilie Nastase was sent off for reportedly swearing and play was halted for about 25 minutes.

Konta then won five straight games in Constanta to win 6-2 6-3.

Nastase caused controversy in the build-up to the tie after being heard making a derogatory comment about Serena Williams’ unborn child.

The incident leading to him being dismissed happened when Cirstea was 2-1 up in the second set of the World Group II play-off tie.

After world number seven Konta and GB captain Anne Keothavong had complained of calling out from the crowd in the previous game, Nastase was involved in a discussion with officials in which he reportedly used foul and abusive language.

The former world number one was then sent off the court by referee Andreas Egli and, after taking a seat in the stands, was then escorted back to the locker room.

A visibly upset Konta lost her serve in the next game to go 3-1 down before the umpire suspended play.

Romania player Simona Halep spoke to the crowd during the suspension to try to calm the situation down.

‘You’re stupid’

On Friday, Halep was answering a question in English about American world number two Williams’ pregnancy when 70-year-old Nastase turned to one of his other team members and added in Romanian: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”

Before play started on Saturday, Nastase went into the press centre to seek out the British media.

Press Association Sport tennis correspondent Eleanor Crooks was the only member of the British media present in the press room at the time.

He said to Crooks: “Why did you write that? You’re stupid, you’re stupid.”

Watson beaten by Halep

Earlier on Saturday, Romania took the lead when Halep won 26 of the last 33 points on the way to comfortably beating Heather Watson 6-4 6-1.

World number five Halep increased her intensity at 4-4 and broke Watson to love before serving out to take the opening set for the hosts.

Watson, ranked 113, struggled to cope with her rival as she lost her serve twice to love in the second set.

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