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Billie Jean King Cup: Katie Boulter beats Caijsa Hennemann to pull GB level with Sweden

Katie Boulter claimed a dominant win to pull Great Britain level against Sweden in their Billie Jean King Cup play-off after Jodie Burrage’s opening defeat.

Burrage, ranked 279 places higher than her opponent, let slip a 4-0 lead to lose 6-4 6-1 to Kajsa Rinaldo Persson.

However, British number one Boulter got Britain back on track with a 6-2 6-1 win against Caijsa Hennemann at London’s Copper Box Arena.

The British pair will be back in action in the best-of-five series on Sunday.

‘I haven’t felt nerves like this’

Making her debut in the women’s team event, Burrage started brightly before Rinaldo Persson went on an eight-game winning streak and nerves took hold for the Briton.

“I have not felt like this and even the nerves before have not felt like this. Ever,” Burrage told a news conference.

“I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get everyone a win.

“It’s not just me out there. I’m playing for other people and that type of pressure I have never really understood before and I don’t think you ever do until you do it.

“That’s why it hurts even more, because I’m hurting for other people.”

Rinaldo Persson looked unstoppable when she claimed the first two games of the second set, and despite eventually holding to get herself back on the scoreboard, Burrage – who was cheered on by a partisan crowd – never threatened a comeback.

Speaking after her victory, Rinaldo Persson said: “This is one of the biggest wins of my career.

“It wasn’t that great of a start for me, but right now I am super happy I got the win.”

Anne Keothavong’s squad will be demoted to the Group I stage of the competition – the level below the top world tier and played regionally in the European/African zone – if they lose the best-of-five series.

Sweden – four-time quarter-finalists – are vying for promotion to the top tier of the team event having played in the European/African zone since 2016.

Britain, ranked 14 places higher than Sweden, went into the tie as the overwhelming favourites, with all of Sweden’s players ranked outside the world’s top 350.

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