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Marino propels Canada to 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Canada's Rebecca Marino. (Andy Brownbill/AP)

KRALJEVO, Serbia — Rebecca Marino gave Canada a commanding 2-0 lead in its Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie against Serbia on Friday with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win over Nina Stojanovic.

Canada now needs just one win in three matches on Saturday to clinch the best-of-five tie.

Earlier Friday, Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez beat Serbia’s Olga Danilovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

Marino, ranked 230th, recorded her first win over a top-100 opponent since September 2018 when she knocked off world No. 87 Stojanovic.

Marino, from Vancouver, finished with 18 winners, nine more than her opponent.

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.

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

“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.”

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.”

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.