Australia make winning start in BJK Cup

Australia's women's tennis players have made a winning start to the Billie Jean King Cup finals beating Slovakia 2-1.

Storm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic gained singles victories to give Australia a 2-0 lead in their best-of-three opener in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Sanders beat Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4 6-3 before Tomljanovic blew away Anna Schmiedlova 6-1 6-2.

Sanders and Ellen Perez then teamed up against Kuzmova and Tereza Mihalikova in the doubles.

The duo looked on course to make it a clean sweep when they won the first set 6-2, but Slovakia rallied to take the second set, and the tie-break, to win 2-6 6-3 (10-6).

Australia will hope dropping match does not prove costly in what looks a tight group B.

Belgium are the other team in the three-nation section from which only the winner qualifies for the semi-finals. Australia meet Belgium on Thursday; Slovakia face them on Wednesday.

If each country wins one tie it will come down to individual matches won, then sets.

In the day's other match, in group C, hosts Great Britain lost to Kazakhstan. Britain could still qualify with victory over Spain on Thursday but that will be a dead rubber if Kazakhstan win their match against the Spanish on Wednesday.

Sanders' was an excellent victory against a player ranked 91 places above her at 146th in the world, and who has been inside the top 50.

"It is always a little nerve-racking being the first one off the rank but I'm really proud of the way I went after it," the Rockhampton-born 26-year-old said.

"I really used the support of our Australian team on the sideline, they got me though those early nerves and it was a lot of fun out there."

Tomljanovic gained an early break then finished with two more in a 39-minute first set in which she won 75 per cent of first serves and hit some fine forehands.

When she raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set a rapid victory seemed on the cards but Schmiedlova, ranked 67 places lower than the Aussie No.1 at 100th in the world, fought back to 3-2.

Tomljanovic regained her break advantage then saved two break points to be 5-2 before breaking to love to seal the set, and tie.

"Her level was high for the scoreline. I played the bigger points a little bit better," Tomljanovic said.

Sanders and Perez took quick control of the doubles, winning six points from seven to go from facing a break point to be 0-2 down in the opening set to breaking themselves for a 2-1 lead. They wrapped up the set in 27 minutes.

However, Slovakia finally got on the scoresheet in the second set, taking it 6-3 to force a 10-point tie-break which was won by Slovakia who collected six of the last seven points.

"No question our expectations were high today, and we were shooting for the 3-0 win, but from our perspective, it's (still) a great day." Australia captain Alicia Molik said.

Australia's last success in the competition, which until last year was known as the Federation Cup, was in 1974.

"It would mean everything to win this competition," Tomljanovic said.

"It's been a while, maybe this year is the year."