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Australia claim 3-2 Fed Cup victory over Ukraine in Canberra

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Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty sealed the win for Australia over Ukraine, defeating twins Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiia Kichenok (AUS) 6-3 6-4 in the fifth and deciding rubber on day two of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II First Round tie.

Playing a Fed Cup tie in Canberra for the first time since 1988, and their first home tie since 2016, Australia entered the tie as clear favourites fielding the strong team of world No.16 Barty (Qld), world No.25 Daria Gavrilova (Vic), 17-year-old young gun Destanee Aiava (Vic) and doubles specialist Casey Dellacqua (Qld).

 

The scores were level at the end of day one, with Barty securing the first win of the day, followed by an upset from Ukrainian teenage prodigy Marta Kostyuk, displaying a maturity beyond her years to defeat Gavrilova.

Today Australia’s No.1 Barty displayed the level of grass-court tennis for which she is renowned, kick-starting the day with a comfortable win over Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2 6-3. Nadiia Kichenok (UKR) was a last minute substitute in the fourth rubber, a move that paid off for Ukraine when she defeated Gavrilova 4-6 6-2 6-3.

In an emotional fifth rubber Barty teamed with Casey Dellacqua, and they celebrated the latter’s 33rd birthday with a decisive 6-2 6-4 win over the Kichenok twins.

“There’s nothing more special than being out here representing Australia, especially on my birthday and with my best mate (Barty), with my team, with my family here, so it’s really special and something I’ll remember,” Dellacqua said.

“(Winning the Fed Cup) would be a dream come true. For all the young Australian girls out there playing at the moment, I hope you dream of playing for Australia and being part of this team, because I can honestly say with my hand on my heart it’s the most memorable experiences of my life. I just cherish wearing the green and gold.

“I know Fed Cup is on all of our agenda so I hope we can get that job done,” Dellacqua continued.

Captain Alicia Molik was thrilled to get the win on home soil, “I think the result is a sign of the maturity as a team. Despite being a young team, I feel so fortunate we’re bookended both ways, Case has been the leader and stalwart of our team for so many years, and then new blood in Destanee.

“It was an amazing achievement for Ash to win all three points for Australia this weekend, she played phenomenally and her talent and work ethic cannot be underestimated. Ash represents the green and gold with distinction and is the ultimate competitor and team member.

“Dash will only learn from her experience, she’s put that extra pressure on herself. It was a great weekend and the choice of surface couldn’t have been better and we adapt pretty well and get on with the job.

“As a Fed Cup team, the team’s approach last week and attitude has been wonderful. This team supports each other genuinely and throughout the year as well and it’s testament to their individual natures,” Molik continued.