Yulia Putintseva and Elena Rybakina led Kazakhstan to a 2-1 victory over hosts Great Britain on Day 1 of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Glasgow.
Putintseva came from a set down to defeat Katie Boulter 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 before Wimbledon champion Rybakina sealed Kazakhstan's win 6-1, 6-4 over Harriet Dart, extending her winning streak on British soil to eight matches.
No.51-ranked Putintseva brought the head-to-head edge into the first rubber, having won both of her previous meetings with Boulter -- including one in 2019 Billie Jean King Cup play-off action from three match points down 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(6).
Three years on, Putintseva's escape wasn't quite so dramatic. In a below-par opening set, she committed 20 unforced errors, allowing No.124-ranked Boulter to remain on the front foot. But once Putintseva's game started clicking, she came up with a series of superb angled passing shots and drop shots as she took control.
"Like always," she said when asked in the on-court interview about what a fight the match had been.
Rybakina backed up her compatriot with an authoritative performance against Dart. The World No.22 slammed 16 winners over the course of 1 hour and 13 minutes, including two searing forehands to capture both breaks in a dominant first set.
No.98-ranked Dart put up stronger resistance in the second set, erasing an early break deficit and going toe-to-toe with Rybakina on serve. But she squandered two points to take a 5-4 lead after netting a short forehand and then double faulting. Sensing her opportunity, Rybakina wasted no time in seizing the break and then serving out with little fuss.
Great Britain got on the board in the third doubles rubber as Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls defeated Rybakina and Anna Danilina 7-5, 6-3.
Kazakhstan will continue Group C action by taking on Spain on Day 2, before Great Britain face Spain on Day 3.
Earlier, Australia defeated Slovakia 2-1 to take the lead in Group B. No.237-ranked Storm Sanders kicked off the tie with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Viktoria Kuzmova, before Wimbledon and US Open quarterfinalist Ajla Tomljanovic sealed victory by defeating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-1, 6-2. It was Tomljanovic's fourth win in four meetings with Schmiedlova, including three this season alone.
Slovakia managed to get a point on the board as Kuzmova joined forces with Tereza Mihalikova to edge the doubles rubber 2-6, 6-3, [10-6] over Sanders and Ellen Perez.
Slovakia will face Belgium on Day 2, and then Australia will conclude Group B action against Belgium on Day 3.
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