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Katie Boulter overcomes ‘stress and nerves’ to fire Great Britain into commanding BJK Cup lead


Boulter helped Great Britain secure a 2-0 lead (Picture: Getty Images for LTA)

Great Britain secured a commanding 2-0 lead in their Billie Jean King Cup tie against Mexico on Friday, meaning one win out of a potential three matches left to play on Saturday will seal the victory.

Katie Boulter and Heather Watson were the match winners for Team GB in a near empty National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, with both struggling to play their first tennis in the first set before steaming away in the second.

After recovering from a break down twice in the first, the second set from Boulter – the British No. 9 – was particularly impressive.

Her devastatingly clean and heavy ball striking was simply too much for Marcela Zacarias, the world No. 285, who was fed a bagel.

It was a stark contrast from a nervy first set and Boulter admitted she felt the ‘stressed’ coming into the tie, in what was her first appearance for her country since a stress fracture in her back suffered in this competition – then named the Fed Cup – against Kazakhstan two years ago.

‘I was a little bit nervous at the start because of the occasion,’ said Boulter after her 7-5 6-0 win. ‘I wanted to play my best tennis and sometimes its difficult to do that, and I knew she was going to be a tough opponent.

Heather Watson put Britain 2-0 up (Picture: Getty Images for LTA)

‘It was natural to have nerves, and I thought that I dealt with them really well and was able to tough out the first, and that gave me a lot of momentum and gave me the confidence to go into the second.

‘I thought I played some really good tennis in the second set, I’ve been doing that day in and day out on the practice court, it’s just a matter of getting more and more of it on the match court.

‘It [BJK Cup] brings out the best in me and it brings out the passion I have for this sport. I feel like being out there today, I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I was nervy and stressed a little bit but it’s everything I love about tennis and one of the reasons why I play.’

Team captain Anne Keothavong – who was without British No. 1 Johanna Konta – described the atmosphere as ‘surreal’ but was happy to see her charges get the job done.

‘Two wins in straight sets – I couldn’t ask for anthing better really,’ said Keothavong.

‘Katie was nervous to start with but once she got that first set under her belt she showed what she is about.’

Keothavong was delighted with her side’s efforts (Picture: Getty Images for LTA)

Watson secured her 30th match win in this competition and her first on home soil during her long career representing Great Britain by defeating Giuliana Olmos 7-5 6-1.

‘Although I’m in more of an individual sport, I feel like I’m more of a team player,” Watson said.

‘I really thrive in this environment. I have played this competition for 10 years and have made myself available every time I have been healthy. I will continue to do so.’

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