Tokyo: Ayumi Morita defeated Tamaryn Hendler as Japan secured a place in the Fed Cup World Group next season, completing a comprehensive 4-1 defeat of Belgium in the playoff tie on Sunday.

It will be the first time since 2007 that Japan will be in the elite eight-team World Group.

The 22-year-old Morita, who gave Japan a 1-0 lead by beating teenager Alison van Uytvanck in the opener on Saturday, notched up a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Hendler.

Kimiko Date-Krumm teamed up with Rika Fujiwara to beat Ysaline Bonaventure and van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-4 in the doubles to wind up the two-day competition.

On Saturday, veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, former world number four, defeated Hendler 6-1, 6-4 to make it two up for Japan.

Belgium pulled one back in the dead fourth singles rubber when van Uytvanck whipped Kurumi Nara, who replaced Date-Krumm, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.

"I feel very relieved that I won. This is one of the best victories in my career," said Morita and then praised her opponent, saying: "She is a big fighter and didn't give up."

Meanwhile, Hendler said: "I've had two good experiences in the last two days playing two singles matches for Belgium. It is an honour to play for my country. I fought as hard as I could."

"They are both (Morita and Date-Krumm) very aggressive players. This is a fast court, which I am not used to. They put so much pressure on you that it is hard to even call it an unforced error. It was more like a forced mistake," she added.

Belgium will be relegated to World Group II next season.

Belgium missed former world number one Kim Clijsters, who has a torn hip muscle, and the country's highest-ranked player Yanina Wickmayer, who wanted to concentrate on the WTA Tour.

 

(Agencies)