GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Australia and Kazakhstan claimed victories on the opening day of the Billie Jean King Cup, the biggest team event in women’s tennis.
The Australians, bidding for a first title in the competition in 48 years, beat Slovakia 2-1 in Group B thanks to victories by Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic in singles.
Kazakhstan then took an unassailable 2-0 lead against Britain, the host nation, in Group C after Yulia Putintseva and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina won their singles matches.
Australia is a seven-time winner of the competition formerly known as the Fed Cup. All of its titles came from 1964-74.
Sanders beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-3, while Tomljanovic was a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
Kuzmova teamed up with Tereza Mihalikova to beat Sanders and Ellen Perez in the doubles.
Putintseva recovered to beat Katie Boulter 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Rybakina, ranked No. 22, dispatched Harriet Dart in a 6-1, 6-4 win.
There are 12 teams in the competition and they are split into four groups of three. Each match consists of two singles and a doubles.
The group winners will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, with the final on Sunday.