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AFP
November 12, 2019

France crush Australian dreams to win Fed Cup final

Sports

AFP
November 12, 2019

PERTH: 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.

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.

For Mladenovic and Garcia it was sweet revenge after they lost the deciding rubber in the 2016 final against the Czech Republic. “Definitely, it’s lots of emotion to share this with Caroline,” said Mladenovic. “Three years ago we failed on the last step of the tie.”

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.

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