The first day of 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier action kicked off with seeded teams the Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Romania, Spain and the United States all taking healthy 2-0 leads over their opponents.
CZE lead UKR 2-0
Barbora Krejcikova and Marketa Vondrousova both delivered straight-sets victories to get the No.2-seeded Czechs off to a perfect start on clay in Antalya, Türkiye, where the tie is being held due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Vondrousova, the 2019 Roland Garros finalist, defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour and 22 minutes, and 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova followed with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Katarina Zavatska.
Krejcikova also announced that she will donate all her Billie Jean King Cup funds to Türkiye, which is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in February.
"Both Ukraine and Türkiye are going through very difficult times," she wrote on social media. "Much like I am supporting the people of Ukraine, I would like to lend a hand to Turks as well.
"Therefore I have decided to donate all of the funds that I am due to receive from the ITF to represent my country during this qualifying tie. The money will directly help the Turkish population from regions that have been affected by the earthquake, especially local tennis players that have lost close to everything."
KAZ lead POL 2-0
No.8 seeds Kazakhstan, hosting Poland on indoor clay in Astana, are also yet to concede a set. Yulia Putintseva opened the tie with a 7-5, 6-3 upset of No.19-ranked Magda Linette, her first Top 20 win since advancing via retirement against Paula Badosa in Toronto last August. It was also Putintseva's third win in eight meetings with Linette.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina backed her up with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of No.253-ranked Weronika Falkowska in which she fired nine aces and lost serve only once.
FRA lead GBR 2-0
Caroline Garcia and Alizé Cornet led a spirited effort to win a combined five tiebreak sets to give France a 2-0 lead over Great Britain. Garcia led off the day by coming back from 4-2 down in the final set to defeat Katie Boulter 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in a marathon match that nearly hit the 3-hour and 30-minute mark. France's No.2 Cornet followed up with her own clutch heroics, defeating Harriet Dart 7-6(6), 7-6(3).
USA lead AUT 2-0
The heavy favorites at home in Delray Beach, Gauff and Pegula assured that the U.S. got off to the perfect start, even if the start of the tie was briefly interrupted by rain.
Playing in her home city, Gauff began the night with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Julia Grabher, before Pegula followed with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Sinja Kraus.
A highlight reel finish for Jessica Pegula vs Austria 😤— USTA (@usta) April 15, 2023
Brazil vs. Germany, Canada vs. Belgium finely poised
One of the two of the nine Qualifiers to be even after the first day sees hosts Germany even with Brazil thanks to a pair of thrilling three-setters.
Beatriz Haddad Maia got the hosts off on the right foot with a come-from-behind 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam, but Bogota champion Tatjana Maria extended her winning streak to six matches with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Laura Pigossi in the nightcap.
In a rematch of the 2021 Copa Cosalnitas final, also won by Maria, the German rallied from 5-3 down in the final set to draw the hosts level.
In addition, visiting Belgium is level with Canada after Ysaline Bonaventure came from set down to beat Rebecca Marino, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Leylah Fernandez opened the tie with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Yanina Wickmayer.
ESP lead MEX 2-0
No.1 seeds Spain also took a 2-0 lead on home soil without the loss of a set against Mexico. Sara Sorribes Tormo, who returned from a six-month injury layoff to reach the Bogota quarterfinals last week, continued her strong comeback form on clay in Marbella. The World No.101 gave her team an opening lead with a 6-0, 6-0 dismissal of Fernanda Contreras in just 67 minutes.
Nuria Parrizas Diaz next built on the Spanish lead with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Renata Zarazua.
Nine Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier ties will take place across the world this weekend, with winners advancing to the Finals in November.