WOLLONGONG, April 22, 2018 (Press Release)
Australia is back in the elite world group of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas following convincing wins by Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova against the Netherlands in the World Group Play-off in Wollongong today.
Barty extended her impressive Fed Cup form with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over Lesley Kerkhove and Gavrilova sealed the deal, clinching the tie for Australia with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Quirine Lemoine.
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) 22. April 2018
“It feels amazing,” Gavrilova said in her post-match interview which followed a quick victory lap of the court with the Australian flag.
“I was super-nervous. Just playing for your country is so much harder than just playing any other tournament… you guys, my team, I love you.’’
“I played really well, I thought… I felt really good and I had so much fun. It was a dream come true to finally win a match in a home tie, because I haven’t done that before.
“I played really tough on big points… Alicia was always telling me that every time I played a tough point, probably 90 per cent of the time I won them, so I focused on that,” Gavrilova continued
Gavrilova returned to the court for doubles duty, partnering with 17-year-old Fed Cup debutante Destanee Aiava, together defeating Lesley Kerkove and Demi Shuurs 6-3, 6-2.
Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik believes Australia is a genuine chance for the title now the team is back in the elite top-eight World Group.
“Yeah, absolutely (we can challenge for the Fed Cup title next year). Look at who you have sitting in front of you. We’re pretty lucky and we’re privileged and we’ve got a great team – we’ve got depth.
“We’ve got a Grand Slam champion, we’ve got a top 20 player, we’ve got a WTA tournament winner – Dasha is also very close to the top 20 at the moment. And Destanee has her first Fed Cup, has won her first rubber ever. She’s also accomplished.
“I think we’re not just contenders – I think we’re a genuine chance to win Fed Cup next year. And I’m just really proud of the way the team’s come together,” Molik continued.
The Fed Cup draw will take place in London in September and determine which nation Australia will face in the first round next February.
Australia defeats Netherlands 4-1
R1: Lesley Kerkhove (NED) d Samantha Stosur (AUS) 7-5 7-6(1)
R2: Ashleigh Barty (AUS) d Quirine Lemoine (NED) 6-0 6-2
R3: Ashleigh Barty (AUS) d Lesley Kerkhove (NED) 6-4 6-2
R4: Daria Gavrilova (AUS) d Quirine Lemoine (NED) 6-3 6-2
R5: Daria Gavrilova (AUS) / Destanee Aiava (AUS) d Demi Schuurs / Lesley Kerkhove (NED) 6-3 6-2