Published: Tue, April 23, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Aussie women tennis players eye Fed Cup title after semifinal win

Aussie women tennis players eye Fed Cup title after semifinal win

World number nine Ash Barty has lead Australia to their first Fed Cup final in almost 30 years.

Australia will face France, who upset Romania with a 3-2 victory in Rouen. But with so much on the line team captain Tatiana Poutchek opted instead for the more accomplished pairing.

The Queensland pair have five major doubles titles between them and their ability was evident throughout, but especially in the final set as they sealed the tie.

"I could not have picked two more ideal athletes to compete".

"It was about either we stay and fight for another match or go home", said Azarenka.

"We knew it was going to be a tough one and we just so happy with how we played", added Stosur.

An Ashleigh Barty-powered Australia seized their moment when tennis briefly stole the spotlight in April, but they aren't done yet after booking the country's first Fed Cup finals appearance in 26 years.

Earlier on Sunday Australia, inspired by in-form Ashleigh Barty, defeated Belarus 3-2 in the other semi-final in Brisbane.

She served out to love and took the set on an ace.

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They were unbelievable again and they never ever moaned at our players, which they could have, but they've been supportive.

A slew of errors in game three handed Azarenka a break before the Australian quickly evened up proceedings.

As Barty gained the upper hand after both her breaks, she forced Sabalenka to go for winners.

What was vital for Barty was her service game. Sabalenka's serving wobbles continued with Barty exploiting the weakness to take the set.

Sabalenka, however, turned up her power game in the third and after establishing a 4-1 lead blew her first match point opportunity in the eighth game on Stosur's serve when she blasted a backhand volley wide with the court open.

Belarusian Azarenka was a late arrival for the tie starting on Saturday but, like Samantha Stosur for the hosts, has won a singles spot ahead of higher-ranked teammates in a nod to her experience.

Barty's win on hard courts at Pat Rafter Arena ended Azarenka's 13-match winning streak in the Fed Cup.

Stosur was out of touch and fired down seven double faults as Azarenka won the set in just 29 minutes and the second followed a similar pattern.

Australia advanced to a home Fed Cup final against France or Romania after seeing off Belarus in the fifth and deciding doubles rubber.

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic beat Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu in a deciding doubles tie 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in an enthralling battle.

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