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Tennis news - Katie Boulter and Johanna Konta lead Great Britain to victory against Slovenia

Katie Boulter and Johanna Konta lead GB to victory against Slovenia
By PA Sport

06/02/2019 at 20:13Updated 07/02/2019 at 22:28

Great Britain were victorious in their first home Fed Cup tie since 1993 after Katie Boulter and Johanna Konta helped them see off Slovenia.

It has been 26 years since they played a Fed Cup tie in this country and they made the perfect start by getting the point on the board in their opening Group A match as Boulter and Konta put them 2-0 up in the best-of-three encounter against the Slovenians.

Boulter, playing her first Fed Cup singles match, beat Kaja Juvan 6-4 6-2 in the opening match and then British number one Konta saw off Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (9/7) 6-2 to get the tie won.

Harriet Dart and Katie Swan were then able to enjoy the pressure-free doubles rubber, knowing the result did not matter.

Captain Anne Keothavong was delighted to get the job done easily ahead of what will be a gruelling few days.

“I didn’t really want to be sitting there in a deciding doubles on day one!” she said.

“Credit to Boulter and Konta. It is a much nicer situation knowing we have won, but this competition is far from completed.

“Physically it’s tough, it’s much warmer, but mentally you can’t under-estimate all the emotions they go through, playing in front of a home crowd for the first time.

" I thought Katie Boulter was brilliant, making her singles debut and winning in front of her home crowd is special."

“She has improved so much in the last 12 months and I think 2019 can be really special.”

Katie Boulter was playing her first Fed Cup singles match

Katie Boulter was playing her first Fed Cup singles match PA Sport

Boulter was pleased to get an early win on the board to set her team up.

“I was a little nervous, everybody would feel like that in my position, but I had a great team around me to put me in the right place mentally,” she said.

“I like to think I am someone who rises to the occasion. I didn’t mind (playing first) too much, there’s a lot of pressure to start off but I thought I did well to start and get a win for the team.”

Konta’s path was a little trickier after a topsy-turvy first set that lasted 16 minutes longer than the whole of Boulter’s match.

She saved three-set points to take it on a tie-break and then ran away with the match to win in straight sets.

Konta, playing her 20th Fed Cup tie, never panicked despite looking like losing that first set.

“What I try to do is draw from past experiences, it is not the first time I have been down in a tie-break or a set,” she said. “I just try to stick to that process and stay calm.

“I thought I was competing well and I was just trying to trust that more than anything.”

Britain are in Group 1 of the Europe/Africa Zone of the women’s team tournament with Greece, who they play on Thursday, and Hungary.

Croatia, Turkey, Serbia and Georgia are in the other pool. Croatia got their campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Turkey, while Serbia beat Georgia by the same scoreline.

The winners of each group will play each other to determine who advances to the World Group II play-offs in April.