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GB lose to Romania in heated Fed Cup clash

Press Association logoPress Association 23/04/2017 Eleanor Crooks

Great Britain's Fed Cup play-off against Romania ended with the hosts victorious but bad blood between the teams after a turbulent weekend.

Victories for Simona Halep over Johanna Konta and Irina-Camelia Begu against Heather Watson clinched the tie for Romania before Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae won a consolation doubles rubber to make the final score 3-2.

But this is not a tie that will be remembered for the tennis.

The controversy appeared to be over after Romania captain Ilie Natase was barred following his foul-mouthed meltdown on Saturday.

But the Romanian players let it be known how aggrieved they were at the claims by Konta that she had felt threatened by the crowd in Constanta her match against Sorana Cirstea on Saturday.

After Nastase was sent off the court, his parting shot a shout of "f***ing bitches" at Konta and Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong, the British No.1 became tearful during the following game and play was suspended.

On the resumption more than 20 minutes later, Konta won five games in a row and the match.

The 25-year-old said what she had experienced would take time to get over and that it had affected her in her defeat by Halep.

Konta said: "There's obviously an effect that yesterday had on me. However, it has to be about the tennis and I gave my best today but Simona was better than me."

Cirstea was the first to question Konta's version of events after the match on Saturday, with the main objection that play was stopped not at 2-1 in the second set following Natase's unpleasant outburst but after the Romanian had won the next game.

And she was backed up by Halep and Begu.

"I had extra motivation because in my opinion the public was very fair yesterday. They didn't say anything bad, they just were supporting us." Halep said.

Begu added: "Johanna said that at 3-1 she was feeling threatened by someone. After, to the referee, she said the problem was because Ilie said what he said so, if Ilie said that, it was at 2-1. Then she starts crying after one game?

"Like Sorana said, we've been to countries and I played with a home girl, and everybody was screaming. I didn't start to cry.

Konta felt the Romanians did not fully appreciate the circumstances, saying: "With all due respect to Sorana, she wasn't on my side of the court, she didn't feel verbally threatened, she wasn't in my shoes.

Nobody should have to put up with - in life or in any way - to feel verbally threatened and subjected to that sort of abuse."

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