Boulter and Watson give Great Britain 2-0 lead against Mexico
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Katie Boulter and Heather Watson put Great Britain in the driving seat in their Billie Jean King Cup Play-Off tie against Mexico, winning two singles victories on day one.
The best-of-five-match tie, which will give the winner a qualifying spot for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, is being staged over two days at the National Tennis Centre, in Roehampton, London.
First up was Boulter, who was forced to work hard in a tough opening set against Mexico’s leading player, Marcela Zacarias.
The Brit – who is playing in her first Billie Jean King Cup tie since her storming performance against Kazakhstan in 2019 – edged a tricky first set 7-5 against Zacarias before the strength that previously took her inside the world’s top 100 shone through.
Boulter’s superior power proved too much for the Mexican, as she took the second set in less than 25 minutes, to claim a 7-5, 6-0 victory.
“Initially I was a little bit nervous,” Boulter said. “I knew the occasion and it’s been a while since I’ve been in that situation, so for me to be out there competing was really fun.
“It was a really close first set and I managed to squeeze it through, and I managed to get into the second set and play some really good tennis.
“I have been playing really well in practice and I felt that once I’d settled I was able to bring that out on the court and I was very happy with the second set for sure – I’m really happy with how I closed the match out.”
Next up in action was British No.2, Heather Watson who was also forced to work hard for first-set victory in her singles match.
The World No.68 exchanged a series of breaks with Mexico's second highest-ranked player, Giuliana Olmos, in the first set of their singles match before going on to win the set 7-5.
During the second set Watson oozed class, though, often coming to the net to put more pressure on Olmos.
In the end Watson cruised to a 7-5, 6-1 victory which was her 22nd singles win in the competition – Virginia Wade is the only British woman who has more.
“I’m very happy and proud of the team today,” said Watson. “We’ve had two really competitive matches and Mexico, as we knew, have been really tough competition so far.
“They said they’ve got nothing to lose and have come out firing and we’ve had two really close first sets in our matches today.
“Personally I’m really pleased with how I played. It was really tough. Giu Giu [Olmos] hit some really good shots in the first set – and I had some chances to sneak ahead but wasn’t able to take it.
“I was a bit nervous – I wanted to do my country proud – but in the second set I started to feel more comfortable and came to the net more, and I’m feeling very happy and can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Following today’s performances Great Britain just need one more match win to claim victory in the tie.