Great Britain started their Fed Cup Group One campaign with a resounding 3-0 win over Bosnia in Eilat, Israel.
Anne Keothavong defeated Dea Herdzelas 6-4, 6-2 in the first rubber before British No 1 Heather Watson claimed a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anita Husaric to set up a 2-0 lead. Laura Robson and Johanna Konta then finished things off with a comprehensive 6-0, 6-0 whitewash of duo Jelena Simic and Jasmina Kajtazovic as Britain completed a perfect start.
The Pool B games had been delayed after heavy rain on Wednesday, which meant Great Britain could only begin their tournament yesterday. However, it did not disrupt their preparations as they started off in the best possible style ahead of today’s scheduled meeting with Portugal.
Watson, ranked 41 in the world, was satisfied to start with a win against Bosnia, arguably the weakest team in Group B, knowing that Portugal and Hungary will be far tougher opponents. “I was a little nervous going out today, but I’m pleased to get the first win under my belt,” said Watson. “It wasn’t easy, I was in and out of the match as it was the first match, but I’m more settled in now.”
Robson, who teamed up with Watson in the doubles last year, played alongside rookie Konta and recorded Britain’s first Fed Cup double bagel – a match win without dropping a game – in 11 years.
After the match, Konta said on Twitter: “Super happy with how my Fed Cup career has started. Hopefully many more wins to come for us! #TeamGB.”
Captain Judy Murray hailed the Australian-born 21-year-old’s start to the tournament.
She said: “It was great to be able to put her in on the first day and for her to get her first win.
“She played fantastically well today, it was a dream debut for her.”
Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that it has revised the dead rubber policy for all Fed Cup ties.
The changes, which will come into force this weekend in the World Group and World Group II first round ties, state if a tie is decided after the third singles rubber, the fourth singles rubber will not be played and the dead doubles rubber will be played instead.
However if the tie is decided after the fourth singles match - where one nation has a winning 3-1 lead – the dead doubles rubber will still be played.
The existing dead rubber policy used in the Fed Cup Final will remain the same, with the revisions made following the successful introduction of new rules for all Davis Cup ties in 2011.
ITF Executive Vice President Juan Margets said: “The enhancement of the dead rubber policy came in response to requests from players, captains and National Associations following its successful introduction in Davis Cup.
“This is part of the ITF’s continued effort to make Fed Cup more player friendly, while maintaining a good spectator experience on the Sunday.”