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Deciding doubles triumph sends Australia into Fed Cup final

By Opta

Melbourne, April 21: Australia advanced to a home Fed Cup final against France or Romania after seeing off Belarus in the fifth and deciding doubles rubber.

Wins for Aryna Sabalenka and Ashleigh Barty left the tie level at 1-1 following Saturday's action, and the singles were shared once again on Sunday as the Pat Rafter Arena was treated to a clash that went the distance.

Barty chalked up her second success, downing Sabalenka 6-2 6-2, but two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka was even more emphatic in swatting aside Samantha Stosur 6-1 6-1 to keep her nation's hopes alive.

Belarus' sole final appearance ended in defeat to the United States in 2017 but there will be no swift return to that stage as Stosur and Barty prevailed 7-5 3-6 6-2 in the doubles to send seven-time winners Australia to their first final in 26 years.

Barty and Stosur were twice pegged back having broken in the first but forged ahead once more at 6-5 and Barty wrapped up the set with an emphatic overhead smash.

Belarus claimed the solitary break of the second and pulled level thanks to Azarenka's clinical volley at the net, but Stosur did likewise to get Australia ahead at 3-1 in the decider and victory was sealed courtesy of a second break as the partisan crowed revelled in the prospect of a home final in November.

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Story first published: Sunday, April 21, 2019, 15:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 21, 2019
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