|Venue: Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry Dates: Friday and Saturday 14 and 15 April
|Coverage: Watch live on the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer, plus daily live text commentaries and reports on the website and app.
Britain’s Katie Boulter looked set to cause a major upset before world number five Caroline Garcia showed her quality in the decisive moments to put France ahead in the Billie Jean King Cup.
Boulter, 26, lost 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) as the hosts came close to making a dream start to the qualifier.
Boulter led 4-2 in the decider before losing a compelling contest that lasted three hours and 26 minutes.
Britain’s Harriet Dart plays Alize Cornet next on Friday in the singles.
The tie in Coventry is best-of-five matches with the winner earning a spot in the finals of the women’s team event in November.
Britain reached the semi-finals of last year’s finals and are again looking to channel their underdog spirit to beat a French side that is much stronger in terms of rankings and previous pedigree.
Once again Boulter showed she is a player for the big occasion, and how she thrives in the team environment, even though she was ultimately unable to get over the line against 2022 US Open semi-finalist Garcia.
With British number one Emma Raducanu again missing, captain Anne Keothavong has named the same team who reached the last four in Glasgow.
Boulter has struggled for match wins on the WTA Tour in recent months, dropping to outside the top 150 of the world rankings, but was picked as the second singles player by Keothavong.
The show of faith was repaid as Boulter demonstrated her quality and fight – as well as epitomising the togetherness which Keothavong has harnessed – to threaten a stunning win over Garcia.
After going a break up in the decider, Boulter was well on course to earn the biggest victory of her career before Garcia upped her level amid the tension to fight back and clinch victory with her third match point.
Garcia’s relief at coming through such a bruising battle was evident as she dropped her racquet and covered her face with both hands.
“It was a crazy match, to play well over three hours is pretty rare in tennis in three sets,” said Garcia, who helped France win the tournament in 2019.
“Three tie-breaks shows how tight the match was. I had to fight and play well in a few points here and there.”