Britain, Ukraine and Italy lead 2-0 in Billie Jean King Cup playoffs

Katie Boulter and Heather Watson won with near-identical scorelines to give Britain a 2-0 lead in its Billie Jean King Cup playoff against Mexico.

Heather Watson celebrates after winning a point in her singles match on Friday. - GETTY IMAGES

Katie Boulter and Heather Watson won with near-identical scorelines to give Britain a 2-0 lead in its Billie Jean King Cup playoff against Mexico on Friday while Ukraine and Italy also chalked up victories.

With Britain's top-ranked player Johanna Konta sidelined with a knee problem, it was up to Boulter and Watson to take control of the tie in Roehampton. While Boulter beat Marcela Zacarias 7-5, 6-0, with the second set lasting less than 25 minutes, Watson overcame Giuliana Olmos 7-5, 6-1 to put Britain in a commanding position in the best-of-five tie.

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“Initially I was a little bit nervous... It was a really close first set and I managed to squeeze it through,” Boulter said.

“I managed to get into the second set and play some really good tennis... I was very happy with the second set, I'm really happy with how I closed the match out.”

The doubles match and the reverse singles matches will be held on Saturday and Britain can take an unassailable 3-0 lead if Watson beats Zacarias.

Ukraine leads against Japan

Earlier, Ukraine took a 2-0 lead over Japan as World No. 5 Elina Svitolina took the first point of the Billie Jean King Cup era.

The old Fed Cup was re-branded last year and named after the American great and 12-times Grand Slam singles champion who won the inaugural tournament nearly 60 years ago. “Scoring the first point of the Billie Jean King Cup era is a special feeling and hopefully there are many more to come for Ukraine,” Svitolina said after beating Japan's Chihiro Muramatsu 6-3, 6-2.

Italy also took a 2-0 lead over Romania in Cluj-Napoca after Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat debutant Irina Bara 6-1, 6-4 while Martina Trevisan held off Mihaela Buzarnescu to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in an epic encounter that lasted over three hours.

Kazakhstan and Argentina shared the spoils after Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Nadia Podoroska 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 before Maria Carle upset Elena Rybakina 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 in front of a small but loud crowd.

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