World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will attempt to lead her country to its first Fed Cup trophy in 45 years, as Australia faces France in the event’s final this upcoming weekend. On the eve of the tournament, her team member Samantha Stosur‘s outstanding Fed Cup efforts were recognized with an Award of Excellence.
Just days after capping her extraordinary 2019 season with the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen title and the much-talked-about record prize check, Barty arrived in Perth to try to further Australian tennis history. The 23-year-old’s Fed Cup win-loss record this year is 6-0, achieved during her team’s victories in World Group quarterfinals against USA and World Group semifinals against Belarus. The perfect record makes Barty the first player to contest and win the maximum number of matches en route to the Fed Cup final in the competition’s current format.
In Saturday’s opening rubber, we’ll have a clash of two ladies who know each other very well from the early age — Croatian-born Ajla Tomljanovic, debutante in the Australian team, and French No.1 Kristina Mladenovic. Barty will face Caroline Garcia in Saturday’s second match.
In Sunday’s reverse singles, Barty will play Mladenovic, followed by a match between Tomljanovic and Garcia. Mladenovic and Garcia are also down to play the doubles against Barty and Samantha Stosur, though each of Sunday’s matches is subject to change.
During Friday’s draw ceremony, Samantha Stosur, Australia’s most successful Fed Cup singles player of all time, was presented with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence by the International Tennis Federation and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The 35-year-old is a 16-year veteran of the Australian Fed Cup team, having played 31 ties since 2003, boasting a perfect 8-0 record in doubles and 29-20 in singles.
Seven-time champions Australia last held the Fed Cup champion’s trophy in 1974, with Evonne Goolagong, Dianne Fromholtz and Janet Young defeating the United States 2-1.