Great Britain's mission to qualify for the Federation Cup World Group for the first time since 1993 is on a knife-edge with the 1-1 scoreline against Kazakhstan. Jo Konta produced a three-set victory in the opening day's action at the Copper Box Arena, London. Jo Konta recovered well from a slow start to beat World #107 Zarina Diyas: 4-6,6-3, 6-2. However, Katie Boulter surrendered three match points to lose to Yulia Putinseva 3-6, 6-2, 7-6. With two singles and a potential doubles match left, this tie is close.

Katie Boulter gives her all in defeat to Yulia Putinseva

Boulter used her height advantage over the diminutive Putinseva to make life difficult early on for her opponent. Superfluous groundstrokes saw Boulter get stronger and stronger as the set grew. Two breaks of serve towards the end sealed an impressive 6-3 1st set for Britain.

The tide turns quickly in Putinseva's favour 2nd set

A chilling drop-shot when deadlocked at 1-1: 40-40 in the third game of the second set, represented a turning point for Putinseva and Kazakstan.

It was a mammoth game that could have gone either way, but went the way of Kazakhstan, after an unforced error from Boulter. This is definitely the moment British captain Anne Keothavong will look back on as the turning point. Worryingly, after this game, Katie Boulter was taken off-court for an injury time-out. In truth, Boulter didn’t seem the same player after this game. It is to be hoped that the injury/niggle will not put Boulter at a disadvantage in the key 4th rubber against Zarina Diyas.

The pocket of circa 100 Kazakstan supporters who were making the bulk of the noise anyway, just got louder and louder. This galvanized Putinseva. Another break of serve followed and not long after, the set hit 6-2 in favour of Kazakhstan.

Katie Boulter loses initiative in marathon 3rd set

Boulter shrugged off whatever caused her to stumble in the 2nd set and raced into a 4-0 third set lead. Putinseva is definitely Kazakhstan's answer to Dominika Cibulkova and she dug her way back into the set.

Serving at 5-3, Boulter produced a double fault that gives Putinseva the impetus needed to take the game and draw it level in terms of service breaks.

Once the match became level at 5-5 first set, pressure reversed to Boulter. She dealt with it magnificently and reversed the trend of service losses to ensure the pressure flipped onto Putinseva to serve to keep the match alive and take it into a tie-break.

Boulter raced to 40-30 match point, but Putinseva played impeccable Tennis to save it. Putinseva ground Boulter down to force a tie-break. To be fair, such a close match deserves this sort of a finish. A tie-break, objectively speaking, favours Boulter with the better serve and first serve percentage. In an edgy tie-break strewn with mini-breaks of serve, it's the gutsy Putinseva who held her nerve best of all, saving a third match point and taking the tie-break and the match 6-3, 2-6, 7-6.

This match could go down to a doubles decider

Should the two singles rubbers tomorrow finish 1-1 as today, then it's down to a doubles sudden death.

In Bath in February, Harriet Dart and Bristol’s Katie Swan won the only doubles match. However, it is unlikely that Keothavong will go with such an inexperienced pairing, especially with Heather Watson chomping at the bit to get involved.

24-year-old Russian-born Galina Voskoboeva is likely to play doubles for Kazakhstan. She recently partnered the Russian, Veronika Kudermetova for a WTA doubles final at the Samsung Open. Kazakhstan have two fresh doubles players available. 24-year-old Russian-born Galina Voskoboeva is likely to play doubles for Kazakhstan. She is likely to be partnered by Anna Danilina. This pair is responsible for Kazakhstan being in this playoff. They coolly won a crucial doubles rubber against China in their last tie.

Sunday is likely to be a nervous day for the home crowd hoping Britain can end it's Fed Cup World Group, 26-year wilderness. Although, before this there are the mouthwatering singles matches, incorporating Konta vs Putinseva. Of course, the Fed Cup format is likely to change next year, but a win is crucial for Britain to be able to play a big part in the competition.

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