Canada’s Fernandez wins opener against Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

KRALJEVO, Serbia — Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez beat Serbia’s Olga Danilovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the opener of their Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie on Friday.

Fernandez, the top-ranked singles player in the indoor hard-court-tie at No. 72, needed two hours 34 minutes to finish off the 162nd-ranked Danilovic.

“She played an incredible match, I didn’t,” Fernandez said. “I made one too many mistakes, giving her back the points that I won and she took advantage.

“But I was happy that I was able to fight through it and get the win for my team.”

The Canadian broke Danilovic in the final game of the match to win.

While Fernandez was not pleased with her overall performance, she delivered when the match presented her with opportunities to take control. The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., won six of seven break-point chances. Danilovic was good on just five of 14.

“I was more focused and I was going for it a little bit more (on break-point chances),” Fernandez said. “But honestly I was just trying to think of it as another point and just do what I’ve been practising.

“Practise, practise, practise has been helping a lot and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

The 230th-ranked Rebecca Marino, from Vancouver, was to meet world No. 87 Nina Stojanovic in the final match on Friday.

Reverse singles matches go on Saturday before Canada’s Carol Zhao and Sharon Fichman face Danilovic and Aleksandra Krunic in a doubles match.

The winner of the best-of-five tie advances to next year’s qualifiers and the loser drops into the Regional Group I.

The Billie Jean King Cup is the new name for the Fed Cup _ the top international team tournament in women’s tennis.

Canada’s top singles player, Bianca Andreescu, is sidelined with a foot injury. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada’s top doubles player, also isn’t competing at the tie.

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