efe-epaKortrijk (Belgium)

Belgium’s tennis player Kirsten Flipkens upset Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, securing her country its first point in Saturday's Fed Cup play-offs that qualify for the World Group, a tie held at the indoor hard court of Lange Munte in the Belgian city of Kortrijk.

Having lost the first set, Muguruza, ranked No. 19 in the WTA, took the initiative and dominated the second set to draw level at one set apiece, but she let the match slip through her fingers in the decider to lose the game after two hours and eight minutes of play.

In the first set, both Flipkens, the world ranking No. 36, and Muguruza managed to hold serve in the first six games, but the Belgian player broke the Spaniard’s fourth serve and won the next three games for her 6-3 win.

Both players traded their second service games in the second set, but the Spanish player managed to draw level, breaking Flipkens’ fifth and last serve to win the set 6-4.

Flipkens, however, broke Muguruza’s first serve in the third set and got a 2-1 lead, but the Spaniard drew level breaking the Belgian’s second serve for a 2-2 tie.

However, the Belgian player broke the Spanish player’s serve again for a 4-3 lead, eventually sealing the third set with a 6-4 win on her second match point, after losing the first in the previous game on Muguruza’s serve.

In their seventh career match, Flipkens earned her third win vs Muguruza, the two-time Grand Slam champion, who has claimed four victories against the Belgian including their most recent clash in the second round of the 2017 Rogers Cup in Canada.

Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, WTA ranking No. 27, is to play Alison Van Uytvanck, world No. 52 in the second match of the tie on Saturday.

The Fed Cup play-offs tie continues on Sunday; when Muguruza is to play Van Uytvanck, Flipkens is to square off against Navarro, while the fifth and final rubber is pitting the Spanish duo of Aliona Bolsova and Maria Jose Martinez against Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure and Yanina Wickmayer.

Belgium’s best female player Elise Mertens, world ranking No. 6, decided to quit playing the tie with her country, in order to focus on her preparations for the clay season. EFE

jaf/mn-ta/hh