Australia moves on to Fed Cup playoffs after beating Ukraine

by: AP | February 11, 2018

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Ashleigh Barty won both her singles matches and the doubles rubber against the Ukraine. (AP)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ashleigh Barty won both her singles and combined with Casey Dellacqua to win Sunday's doubles and lead Australia to a 3-2 win over Ukraine in their Fed Cup World Group II tennis tie.

Barty and Dellacqua, playing on her 33rd birthday, revived their successful combination to beat twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-3 6-4 in the doubles decider.

The win moves Australia the World Group playoffs later this year, leaving it one win away from the Fed Cup's top-eight nations for the first time since 2015.

Barty was the hero of the tie, featuring in all three wins. She put Australia ahead by beating Lyudmyla Kichenok 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the opening rubber on Saturday, then reclaimed the lead Sunday with 6-2, 6-3 win over the 15-year-old rising star Marta Kostyuk.

Kostyuk, who reached the third round of last month's Australian Open as a qualifier, beat Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (3), 6-3 to level the tie after the first day.

Ukraine captain Mikhael Filima pulled off a tactical coup when he subbed in unranked Nadiia Kichenok in place of her twin sister in the second reverse singles Sunday and Kichenok went on to upset Gavrilova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Gavrilova was never entirely at home on the grass court at Canberra.

Barty and Dellacqua were then dominant in winning the doubles in 65 minutes.

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