CANBERRA, February 10, 2018
The scores are level at one-all after the first day of play in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first round tie between Australian and Ukraine in Canberra.
World No.16 Ashleigh Barty led Australia to a first match victory, defeating Lyudmyla Kichenok 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just under two hours.
“It certainly wasn’t my cleanest tennis throughout the whole match, but it’s obviously nice to come through and get us off the the perfect start,” Barty said.
In the second match of the day 15-year-old Ukrainian prodigy Marta Kostyuk upset Australia’s No.2 player, Daria Gavrilova 7-6(3), 6-3.
A near capacity crowd of 3,202 attended Canberra Tennis Centre on Saturday for an enthralling day of tennis.
On Sunday the reverse singles will be played, with Barty up first to face Ukraine No.1 Kostyuk, followed by Gavrilova against L. Kichenok. Barty and Casey Dellacqua will play doubles for Australia, against Ukraine pair Nadiia Kichenok and Dasha Lopatetskaya.
This is the fifth meeting between Ukraine and Australia in Fed Cup, and the second in as many years after Ukraine won their most recent encounter 3-1 in the 2017 World Group II first round in Kharkiv.
Ukraine has won three of the previous four meetings between the two nations, with Australia’s only triumph coming in Kharkiv in 2010. This will be the first meeting between the two nations on grass.
Australia is mounting a strong campaign and eyeing a return to the elite top eight World Group for the first time since 2015. Ukraine is seeking to end a longer wait, having last featured in the competition’s top tier in 2012.
This is the first Fed Cup tie to be staged in Canberra since 1998, when Australia defeated Argentina 5-0 with a team featuring Nicole Pratt, Rachel McQuillan, Kerry-Anne Guse and Jelena Dokic.