Barty puts Aust up 2-1 in US Fed Cup clash

Ashleigh Barty Fed Cup 2019

Barty blitzes Keys to put Aussies ahead of USA in Fed Cup

Barty steamrolled the world No.17 6-4 6-1 in Asheville, North Carolina, on Sunday (local time).

Third seed Belarus, with twice Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka playing her first tie in three years, thrashed Germany 4-0, while Romania stunned defending champions Czech Republic 3-2 and will take on France in the other semi-final.

Hon has a singles ranking of 143, is 125th in doubles and had never played competitively partnered with Barty, but she showed no nerves against the Americans. "I mean, this is my dream come true - I've always wanted to play for Australia", Hon said.

"Regardless of what was happening during the match, it was important for me to start well, try to set the tone early, put pressure on her straightaway".

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Given three of the teams five members are from the Sunshine State - Ash Barty, Kimberly Birrell and Priscilla Hon - it's a no-brainer according to Queensland Tennis CEO, Mark Handley.

Gavrilova was pencilled in for doubles.

Barty, who has represented Australia in Fed Cup in 2013-14 and 2017-19, now has an 11-match winning streak in Fed Cup play that she will carry into a home semifinal tie set for April, when the Aussies battle Belarus for a spot in the 2019 Fed Cup final. Molik instead slotted Hon alongside Barty and they played like a veteran doubles team.

"We know Ash well for her differences in her game, the way she mixes it up".

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The victor of the doubles will move on to play Belarus in April's Fed Cup semi-finals.

Added Barty: "I'm so proud of Pri and my team and Mol (Alicia Molik) for believing in us".

"As Australians, we probably spend more time on the road than players from other nations so the fact we have a tie at home, it's important to us".

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