women's tennis

Fed Cup: Ashleigh Barty leads Australia to World Group play-offs after victory over Ukraine

Barty won both of her singles matches before a victory in the doubles rubber partnering Casey Dellacqua and defeating twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua put Australia into the Fed Cup World Group play-offs with victory in the deciding doubles rubber over Ukraine in Canberra on Sunday.

Barty and Dellacqua eased past twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-3, 6-4 after Nadiia had levelled the tie with a singles win over Daria Gavrilova.

Australia will now move into the World Group play-offs in April, putting them one win away from the Fed Cup’s top-eight nations for the first time since 2015, while Ukraine will face a World Group II play-off.

Barty was Australia’s leading light with her third victory of the weekend after beating both Lyudmyla Kichenok and Marta Kostyuk in her singles matches.

Australia’s number one singles player Barty had defeated Kostyuk 6-2, 6-3 to put her country on the cusp of qualification only for Gavrilova to lose the fourth singles rubber.

World No. 26 Gavrilova completed a dismal weekend when she went down for the second time despite winning the opening set against unranked Nadiia Kichenok 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Few had given the depleted Ukrainian team a chance when they arrived without world number three Elina Svitolina and their next five top-ranked singles players.

(With inputs from AFP)

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