Australia beats Slovakia to open Billie Jean King Cup


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead against Slovakia on Tuesday in the first match of the Billie Jean King Cup in a strong start to its bid for a first title in 48 years in the biggest team event in women’s tennis.

Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic claimed victories in singles to earn the Australians the win in Group B before the closing doubles.

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. Sanders was scheduled to return to the court to play doubles with Ellen Perez against Kuzmova and Tereza Mihalikova. Australia is a seven-time winner of the competition formerly known as the Fed Cup. All of its titles came from 1964-74.

In the late match, host nation Britain takes on Kazakhstan. 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 Sat- urday, with the final on Sunday.