GB beat Portugal in Israel
The British team, who are in Group C of the Europe/Africa Zone Group I, are amongst four teams bidding to escape the group and get to a World Group II play-offs, and begun in the perfect way.
Keothavong wasted little time in dispatching Maria Joao Koehler 6-3 6-4, and Baltacha was more clinical still, overcoming Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-2 6-3.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy," Baltacha said afterwards, "because the Portuguese girls have done well in the past. I think sometimes with girls at that level you’re never too sure which one of them is going to turn up, as in you don’t really know what kind of game they’re going to bring.
"But Anne and I knew that we’d have to stick to our guns and get the job done which was the most important thing."
Heather Watson and Laura Robson are paired for GB in the doubles, and completed a whitewash by defeating Koelher and de Brito 7-5 6-0.
“It was a lot of fun playing with Heather again," Robson said. "We really tried to be aggressive and volleyed a lot. Yes it was my first Fed Cup match but I wasn’t nervous. I was really excited to be on court. It’s impossible to be nervous when you’re playing with Heather because she’s so relaxed."
Israel and the Netherlands, the other two teams in the group, played past midnight before the Israelis triumphed 2-1 with a three-set victory in the doubles.