Great Britain’s Jodie Burrage let slip a 4-0 lead to lose to Kajsa Rinaldo Persson and put Sweden 1-0 ahead in their Billie Jean King Cup play-off.
The Swede, ranked 279 places lower than British number two Burrage, won 6-4 6-1 at London’s Copper Box Arena.
Cheered on by a partisan crowd, Burrage started brightly before Rinaldo Persson went on an eight-game winning streak to dent the home favourite’s confidence.
“This is one of the biggest wins of my career,” Rinaldo Persson said.
“It wasn’t that great of a start for me, but right now I am super happy I got the win.”
British number one Katie Boulter will try to level the tie when she faces Caijsa Hennemann later on Saturday.
Burrage fended off two break points in a nervy opening service game and raced to a 4-0 lead after breaking Rinaldo Persson twice, but the Swede was able to overcome her slow start and take advantage of a frustrated Burrage, winning the next six games to take the first set.
Rinaldo Persson looked unstoppable when she claimed the first two games of the second, and despite eventually holding to get herself back on the scoreboard, Burrage failed to threaten a comeback.
Anne Keothavong’s squad will be demoted to the Group I stage of the competition – the level below the top world tier and played regionally in the European/African zone – if they lose the best-of-five series.
Sweden – four-time quarter-finalists – are vying for promotion to the top tier of the team event having played in the European/African zone since 2016.
More to follow.