Watson & Boulter put GB in control


Katie Boulter reached a career-high rating of 82 in 2019 earlier than harm derailed her progress
Venue: Nationwide Tennis Centre, Roehampton Dates: 16-17 April
Protection: Watch reside protection on BBC Purple Button and BBC Sport web site & app (Friday 14:00-18:00 BST; Saturday 11:30-1500 and 16:15-19:00)

Heather Watson and Katie Boulter put Nice Britain answerable for their Billie Jean King Cup play-off in opposition to Mexico with convincing wins.

Boulter was examined early in a 7-5 6-0 win over Marcela Zacarias earlier than Watson beat Giuliana Olmos 7-5 6-1 to ship the hosts 2-0 up within the best-of-five tie.

The tie on the Nationwide Tennis Centre in Roehampton resumes on Saturday with the reverse singles.

Victory would put Nice Britain one win from qualifying for the 2022 Finals.

“I do not assume I may have requested for something extra,” GB captain Anne Keothavong stated.

“It was a implausible efficiency from Katie and Heather. Each got here by powerful first units however, as soon as they have been capable of calm down and discover their groove, they completed sturdy and that is what issues.”

The Billie Jean King Cup is the brand new identify for the Fed Cup, the ladies’s worldwide staff occasion that Nice Britain have completed runners-up in 4 instances however have by no means gained.

There are two reverse singles and one doubles rubber scheduled for Saturday with Watson capable of wrap up the tie if she beats Zacarias within the opening match of the day (11:30 BST).

Watson overcomes early nerves

With British primary Johanna Konta lacking whereas she manages a long-standing knee downside, the skilled Watson is the best ranked participant within the tie at 68th on this planet.

There was a gulf of 366 locations within the rating between her and Olmos, which was not mirrored in a good opening set the place they traded breaks in 4 of the primary 5 video games.

Watson used her highly effective forehand to nice impact to create set factors on the Mexican’s serve, wrapping it up with a forehand winner.

A break within the fourth sport of the second set, which included a lovely angled forehand on the web that discovered the road, proved key as Watson stretched forward and transformed the primary of her two match factors when Olmos returned a serve lengthy.

“It was a little bit of nerves, I wish to do my nation proud,” stated Watson, who has now gained 30 of her 43 matches within the competitors.

“Within the second set I began to really feel extra snug, I got here into the web extra. I am feeling very blissful and I can not watch for tomorrow.”

Boulter’s early win & team-mates’ tambourines

The ambiance couldn’t have been extra completely different to Boulter’s final Fed Cup look two years in the past the place she secured the profitable level in a play-off in opposition to Kazakhstan at a packed and raucous Copper Field Enviornment in London.

Right here it was her team-mates and the teaching workers who did their greatest to create some noise behind closed doorways, with Katie Swan and Jodie Burrage on their toes shaking pink tambourines in between factors.

Boulter made a sluggish begin, shedding her opening service sport earlier than breaking again within the fourth sport.

She displayed her trademark grit to avoid wasting two break factors with some well-placed serves to go 6-5 up and sealed the set when Zacarias netted a backhand.

From then on the Briton didn’t look again, discovering depth and velocity on her pictures to race by a 26-minute second set, claiming victory on her third match level with a robust cross-court backhand winner.

“Initially I used to be a bit bit nervous,” stated Boulter, who’s ranked six locations beneath her opponent at 291 on this planet however was within the prime 100 two years in the past earlier than a again harm aggravated within the Fed Cup sidelined her for a prolonged spell.

“It was a extremely shut first set and I managed to squeeze it by and that actually helped me calm down and so going into the second set I performed some actually good tennis.”

Jodie Burrage and Katie Swan with tambourines
Staff-mates Jodie Burrage and Katie Swan helped proceedings with a special form of racket

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