Australia stun No.2 seeds and 2018 finalists USA 3-2 on home soil to reach the Fed Cup World Group Semi finals where they will have a home tie against 2017 losing finalists Belarus.
Ashleigh Barty looked invincible as she dominated world #17 Madison Keys to win 6-4, 6-1 and her three victories in the tie take her win-loss record to an incredible 14-2, and giving Australia a 2-1 lead.
USA’s Danielle Collins, who reached her maiden semi final in last month’s Australian Open dispatched Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to bring the tie level at 2-2.
After losing to Collins, Gavrilova reacted in frustration and smashed her racquet as Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik and coach Nicole Pratt tried to calm her down.
Gavrilova had been pencilled in for the deciding doubles rubber but was replaced by debutante Priscilla Hon.
Barty and Hon then finished the job by comprehensively beating Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar 6-4, 7-5 in the decider.
Following the tie an elated Barty said “It’s the best feeling in the world, it really is. I’ve been able to have a little bit of a taste of it before. But certainly I said to Pri, to all the girls after the match, how good is Fed Cup?
“How good is it playing for Australia”
“These are the moments you remember for the rest of your life. You play a million matches on tour, but the best memories come from these Fed Cup weeks”
Hon, with a singles ranking of 143, had never partnered with Barty, but it didn’t show.
“This is my dream come true,” Hon said.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Australia and beside Ash. I’ve always looked up to her my whole life.”
It is the first time since 2014 Australia has made the semi-finals.
The other semi-final will be France against Romania, as the latter upset defending champions the Czech Republic where Halep improved her record against Pliskova to 7-2 to advance to the semi-finals.
In Liege, Caroline Garcia eased past Elise Mertens 6-2 6-3 to win the tie 3-0 and set up the semi-final against Romania.
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