France’s No.1 Kristina Mladenovic and world No.1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia made short work of their opponents on the opening day of the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final, so the teams move into the three decisive Sunday matches tied at 1-1 in Perth.
Fresh off defending her Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen doubles title with Timea Babos, Mladenovic lost just two games against good friend Ajla Tomljanovic, who was making her Fed Cup debut as an Australian representative. The Croatian-born Tomljanovic held serve for the first time in the fifth game of the second set, as Mladenovic raced to a 6-1 6-1 victory in 72 minutes to put France up 1-0.
Mladenovic and Tomljanovic are both 26 years old and they’ve known each other since playing junior tournaments in Europe, while their fathers, both professional handball players, played each other during their careers.
The pressure of her team being one point down only motivated Barty, as the Roland Garros champion needed just 56 minutes to double-bagel France’s Caroline Garcia.
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect match. I think that’s probably the best tennis match I’ve ever played in my life, and what a place to do it, this is incredible.
After their commanding Saturday’s victories, Mladenovic and Barty will face each other in the first Sunday’s reverse singles match, to be followed by Tomljanovic vs. Garcia and the doubles rubber Barty/Stosur vs. Mladenovic/Garcia.