France clinches Fed Cup with epic 3-2 win over Australia

France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrates winning her match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic during their Fed Cup tennis final in Perth Australia

Thirteen thousand people flooded the gates on Saturday morning, smashing the record for attendance of a women's tennis event, as Barty devastated France's Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-0 after teammate Alja Tomljanovic succumbed to a nervous 6-1, 6-1 opening rubber loss to Kristina Mladenovic.

Australia hasn't won the Fed Cup, then known as the Federation Cup, since 1974 when Evonne Goolagong, Dianne Fromholtz and Janet Young defeated the United States 2-1 in Italy.

On day one of competition, France had taken the early advantage when Mladenovic dismantled Tomlanovic 6-1, 6-1, but Barty produced an nearly flawless performance to deny Caroline Garcia a single game, winning 6-0, 6-0 to level the tie.

Barty started where she left off against Garcia, firing back-to-back aces to take the first game then broke Mladenovic's serve on her way to claiming the first set in 33 minutes.

Mladenovic was key to France's triumph, unbeaten in her three rubbers and having come back from a set down to stun world number one Barty in the reverse singles earlier in the day.

Australia were wobbling after Tomljanovic's torrid Fed Cup debut against Mladenovic, but a beaming Barty strode onto court cradling her niece in her arms and soaking up a huge ovation from the packed crowd.

The 26-year-old held her nerve in the second set and gained the decisive break in the 12th game to ensure Australia's bid to end a 45-year drought remained momentarily alive.

As the day began, Barty picked up right where she left off on Saturday, firing a forehand to set up a volley victor to claim an early break lead at 2-0.

Stung, Barty rallied to break back for 3-3 but the errors again crept in and she was broken again.

At this juncture, Barty's forehand miscues were increasing in frequency, while Mladenovic was finding ideal backhand passes, leading to the Frenchwoman's first break of service to lead 5-4. Serving at 2-5, Barty and Stosur saved two match points to prolong the clash before Mladenovic and Garcia brought the victory home in game nine for a well-deserved title celebration.

Tomljanovic appeared headed for victory when she broke in the sixth game of the second set, but she was unable to consolidate. "I nearly played a flawless match".

World No.40 Mladenovic started slowly before taking advantage of an error-strewn Barty, whose 15-match Fed Cup winning streak was ended in a see-sawing match lasting two hours and 31 minutes.

France last won the Fed Cup in 2003 and most recently made the final in 2016.

Parmentier did likewise, and games went on serve until the 10th game of the match. The French No.1 slammed an ace to reach 6-1 and claim five match points, and she only needed one as Barty hit a forehand into the net to give Mladenovic a massive upset.

The tension rose as Parmentier raised the pressure on the Australian, but Tomljanovic held for 6-5, and then with the crowd roaring her home, she set up two match points.



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