Victories for Heather Watson and Johanna Konta helped Great Britain beat Portugal 3-0 in their opening Fed Cup match.
WTA Staff
February 8, 2018

Great Britain made a winning start to their Fed Cup campaign in Estonia, overcoming Portugal 3-0 on Wednesday.

Singles victories for Heather Watson and Johanna Konta preceded a doubles win. Watson beat Francisca Jorge in straight sets in the BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Group I event in Tallinn, 6-4, 6-1, while Konta also enjoyed a comfortable success, prevailing against Maria Joao Koehler, 6-1, 6-0.

Anna Smith and Katie Boulter then beat Koehler and Jorge in the doubles, prevailing 6-0 6-2 in 45 minutes to secure victory for Anne Keothavong’s team.

Britain next play Estonia, including Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi - both ranked inside the world’s top 70 - on Friday, with a potential weekend match against the winner of Group C following in a promotion playoff.

Victory there would take them through to the World Group II playoffs in April. They have not competed in the World Group for 26 years, losing in the playoff stage last year to Romania.

Watson’s victory over World number 796 Jorge came in 73 minutes, the Briton recovering from an early break against the 17-year-old.

Konta’s win came in just 49 minutes, the British No.1 brushing aside Koehler with minimal fuss.

“I was really happy to be out there again, I always enjoy the Fed Cup and Anne has filled Judy’s [Murray] shoes incredibly well,” Konta said.

“Fed Cup can be slightly tricky, players that play above their ranking, they can be very inspired so you definitely don’t underestimate anybody. Heather competed well and gave us a 1-0 lead before I started.”

Johanna Konta helped Great Britain beat Portugal (Getty)
Johanna Konta helped Great Britain beat Portugal (Getty)

Latvia overcame a surprise defeat for French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to beat Turkey 2-1. Ostapenko lost to World No. 167 Cagla Buyukakcay, losing serve four times.

"It's my best win, and my first against a top-10 player,” Buyukakcay said. “Playing for my country is always special, I always have good wins in Fed Cup, so it's a special day. We had nothing to lose, we knew it would be very tough against two players who are ranked much higher than us”.

Buyukakcay leveled the tie after compatriot Ayla Aksu lost to Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-3, before Latvia secured victory in taking the doubles match, Ostapenko and Sevastova beating Aksu and Pemra Ozgen 6-1 6-1 in just 46 minutes.

Elsewhere, Kurumi Nara and Nao Hibino helped Japan beat Thailand in Pool B of the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in New Delhi. Nara beat Peangtarn Plipuech 6-0, 6-2 and Hibino bested Luksika Kumkhum 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-0 before pairing up to take the doubles in straight sets.

Japan next face the Korea Republic on Thursday, the latter having overcome Chinese Taipei.