Fed Cup Final 2019: Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia power France to thrilling win over Australia

It was France's third title and first since they beat the United States 16 years ago, piling more misery on seven-time champions Australia who have now lost all nine of the last Fed Cup finals they have appeared in

Agence France-Presse November 10, 2019 16:12:33 IST
Fed Cup Final 2019: Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia power France to thrilling win over Australia
  • A jubilant Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia led France to its first Fed Cup title since 2003 on Sunday, winning a deciding doubles rubber to crush Australian dreams 3-2

  • It was France's third title and first since they beat the United States 16 years ago, piling more misery on seven-time champions Australia who have now lost all nine of the last Fed Cup finals they have appeared in

  • Mladenovic, who beat Barty on clay in Rome earlier this year, was on a roll with the French star breaking then holding for a 3-1 third-set lead

A jubilant Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia led France to its first Fed Cup title since 2003 on Sunday, winning a deciding doubles rubber to crush Australian dreams 3-2.

Fed Cup Final 2019 Kristina Mladenovic Caroline Garcia power France to thrilling win over Australia

France's Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic celebrate with teammates after winning the doubles match against Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur. AFP

In the last tournament played under the current format, the pair kept their focus at Perth Arena to overcome Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-3, denying the home team their first crown in 45 years.

It was France's third title and first since they beat the United States 16 years ago, piling more misery on seven-time champions Australia who have now lost all nine of the last Fed Cup finals they have appeared in.

Mladenovic and Garcia, who won the 2016 French Open doubles title, bounced back from going an early break down in the first set to expose Stosur's weaknesses, with the veteran out-of-sorts and making too many mistakes.

World number one Barty, stunned by Mladenovic in a singles rubber earlier Sunday, did her best to keep Australia in the hunt, but the French pair were clinical, racing to victory as their team-mates went wild.

"I'm the proudest man on the planet right now, I'm so proud of my girls and my team. They deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title. For sure I am going to have a lot of beers now," ecstatic France captain Julien Benneteau said courtside.

The final marked the last Fed Cup played under the current format, with an overhaul next year seeing 12 nations compete in a six-day event in Budapest.

That will mean an end to home ties and the atmosphere they bring, with the 26,951 fans turning up over two days in Perth the second-highest Fed Cup attendance on record after Roland Garros (30,000) in 2005.

The doubles clash was set up by Ajla Tomljanovic hauling the home team back into the tie by beating France's Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 7-5.

She came on court after 40th-ranked Mladenovic upset Barty 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) in an epic.

Croatian-born Tomljanovic, in her Fed Cup debut for Australia, had been thrashed 6-1, 6-1 by Mladenovic in the opening singles rubber on Saturday. But captain Alica Molik kept faith with her and she bounced back to beat Parmentier 6-4, 7-5.

"Really glad I got a second chance today and got the win and kept us in. The team has been unbelievable all week and it is such a privilege to play for you guys," said the Australian.

Earlier Barty, who has been in scintillating form, whipping Garcia 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday after winning the WTA Finals in China last weekend, crashed in a classic.

"From my point of view I fought as hard as I could and I hope that I did my team proud and all Australians proud. I fought with everything I had left," said Barty.

Barty started where she left off after the "double bagel" of Garcia on Saturday, breaking Mladenovic's first service game with a net volley to extend her streak to 15 games this weekend.

But Mladenovic held serve to end the Barty run and it became a closer affair before the Australian began forcing errors to take the first set.

Barty saved five break points in the opening game of the second set, but Mladenovic finally worked a first crucial break with some quality passing shots, with a forehand long from Barty giving her a 5-4 lead.

She held her nerve to serve out the set.

Mladenovic, who beat Barty on clay in Rome earlier this year, was on a roll with the French star breaking then holding for a 3-1 third-set lead.

Stung, Barty rallied for 3-3 but the errors again crept in and the set ultimately went to a tense tie breaker where Mladenovic triumphed.

"I just kept believing because I felt I was out there fighting and giving her a hard battle. I'm just so proud how I kept pushing and obviously won the game," said Mladenovic.

Updated Date:

also read

All-rounder Krunal Pandya steps down as captain of Baroda cricket team
First Cricket News

All-rounder Krunal Pandya steps down as captain of Baroda cricket team

Baroda Cricket Association Ajit Lele told PTI that Krunal communicated his decision to the state body on Friday but did not give any reason for leaving the leadership role.

WTA suspends all tournaments in China after 'serious doubts' over Peng Shuai's safety
Sports

WTA suspends all tournaments in China after 'serious doubts' over Peng Shuai's safety

WTA chair and CEO Steve Simon said the move — which could cost the organisation hundreds of millions of dollars — had the "full support" of the tour's board of directors.

China’s foreign ministry 'not aware' of controversy surrounding Peng Shuai amid increasing international scrutiny
Sports

China’s foreign ministry 'not aware' of controversy surrounding Peng Shuai amid increasing international scrutiny

Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the matter was “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”