Great Britain go into the final day of the Billie Jean King Cup play-off 2-0 up in the tie.
First up was Katie Boulter – back in action two years after her lynch-pin performances at the Copper Box in the electric atmosphere of the tie against Kazakhstan. There were nerves as she took on Marcela Zacarias. Just six places separate them in the rankings with Boulter behind the Mexican.
Zacarias was quick off the mark, breaking Boulter in the first game before the Brit got a handle on her nerves and although the pair traded breaks once more, Boulter broke to take the first set.
From there it was one-way traffic on the scoreboard as Boulter denied the Mexican any further games, albeit needing three match points to get over the line.
She said, after the match: “Initially I was a little bit nervous. It was a really close first set and I managed to squeeze it through and that really helped me relax and so going into the second set I played some really good tennis.”
In an almost identical score-line, Heather Watson traded breaks with Giuliana Olmos before she too started to find her range a little more. She sealed a 7-5 first set, before taking control of the second set.
Watson comes alive in team competitions, explaining: I want to do my country proud. “In the second set I started to feel more comfortable, I came into the net more. I’m feeling very happy and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
The second day will be the reverse singles with the two No. 1 players facing off against each other, and the two No. 2 players and the doubles to break any deadlock at that point.
Unless there is a team change, Watson will go up against Zacarias and the win will see Great Britain qualifying for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
If required Boulter would face Olmos with doubles as the final chance for the hosts to book their spot in next year’s finals.
Team captain Anne Keothavong had called this a ‘must-win’ tie, and was more than happy with the day’s outcome.
“I don’t think I could have asked for anything more. It was a fantastic performance from Katie and Heather. Both came through tough first sets but, once they were able to relax and find their groove, they finished strong and that’s what matters.”
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