Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia made up for their painful 2016 Fed Cup final defeat as the pair overcame Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur to secure France's third title.

Barty was flawless as she drew Australia level on day one with a 6-0 6-0 triumph over Garcia, but the world number one failed to recapture her form on Saturday as the hosts went down 3-2.

WTA Finals champion Barty started well in Perth and looked to be on the verge of another dominant win when she went a set up against Mladenovic in her singles rubber, yet it was the world number 40 who proved the star of day two.

After a sensational 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) comeback victory over Barty, Mladenovic starred alongside Garcia as France clinched the trophy with a 6-4 6-3 doubles win, three years on from the same pairing suffering defeat to the Czech Republic in a decider.

"There are lots of emotions, to share this with Caro," Mladenovic said after a superb, instinctive volley from Garcia had proved too much for Barty's partner Samantha Stosur to handle on France's third match point.

"Three years ago we failed on the last step of the tie and we just wanted to take revenge for ourselves. It's indescribable how we feel right now."

Ajla Tomljanovic had stepped up for Australia by overcoming Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5 in Saturday's second singles contest to set up the grandstand finish, before Barty and Stosur made a fine start in the decider with an immediate break.

However, Mladenovic and Garcia rallied to draw level at 2-2 and a second break handed them the opening set.

Successive concessions of serve from the Australians put France into a commanding position in the second set, with Barty and Stosur subsequently failing to take advantage of three break points in the next game.

France were in no mood to let victory slip out of their grasp and – after Australia clawed back two match points to hold serve – Garcia's reactions got the better of Stosur, sparking jubilant celebrations from Julien Benneteau's team.

"I'm the proudest man on the planet right now," France's captain said. "It's a dream for me. I'm going to have a lot of beers!"

World number one Ashleigh Barty crushed Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-0 to square the Fed Cup final at 1-1 at the end of play on Saturday.

Australia trailed France following the opening rubber but were back level just 56 minutes after Barty took to the court in Perth.

The WTA Finals champion sent down eight aces and hit 15 winners to set up a blockbuster showdown with Kristina Mladenovic, who earlier breezed past Ajla Tomljanovic.

Mladenovic broke serve in the opening game and never looked back in a convincing 6-1 6-1 victory, but will have a tougher time getting past an in-form Barty on Sunday.

"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect match," the Australian said after seeing off Garcia.

"I think that's probably the best tennis match I've ever played in my life and what a place to do it, this is incredible. I'm so happy to be back here in Perth. I started my year here, so it's a hell of a way to finish it off too."

Barty is due to partner veteran Sam Stosur in the doubles, with Mladenovic and Garcia to team up for France.

Kiki Bertens look set to miss out on the WTA Finals following a Kremlin Cup quarter-final defeat to Kristina Mladenovic, which left the door open for Belinda Bencic to make her Shenzhen debut.

Bertens missed out on a place in the last four in Moscow when she was beaten 6-4 2-6 6-1 by the unseeded Mladenovic.

The second seed will require a withdrawal to feature in the season-ending tournament in China after failing to climb above the eighth-placed Serena Williams in the standings.

Mladenovic mixed up her game with skill and intelligence and faces a semi-final showdown with Bencic next.

Bencic will move ahead of both Bertens and Williams to grab a Shenzhen spot if she records one more win following a 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 result against qualifier Kirsten Flipkens on Friday.

The Swiss third seed, who has never played in the WTA Finals, drew on her fighting spirit to come from 4-1 down in the opening set and edged a tie-break after saving two set points, then dominated the second set.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Karolina Muchova will contest the other semi-final after getting the better of Veronika Kudermetova and Ekaterina Alexandrova respectively.

Meanwhile, defending champion Julia Goerges rallied from a set down to beat Monica Puig 1-6 6-2 6-3 and reach the last four of the Luxembourg Open.

The German will take on Elena Rybakina, a 6-0 6-4 winner against Laura Siegemund, while Jelena Ostapenko and Anna Blinkova will also do battle for a place in the final.

 

 

Camila Giorgi bageled Andrea Petkovic in the first set of their first-round match at the Luxembourg Open, but the sixth seed was still eliminated.

Giorgi took just 24 minutes to wrap up the opener and yet Petkovic, a semi-finalist at the Linz Open last week, bounced back, coming from a break down late in the third set to advance.

Fiona Ferro won a solitary game as Monica Puig swatted the seventh seed aside 6-1 6-0, with Alison Van Uytvanck, ranked fourth in Luxembourg, also out having retired in her match against Monica Niculescu when leading 4-2 in the first set.

However, top seed Elise Mertens and third seed Elena Rybakina made it through in straight sets.

Defending champion Daria Kasatkina was knocked out of the Kremlin Cup by fifth seed Dayana Yastremska, the teenager building on a 5-0 lead in the opener to win 6-1 6-4.

Elsewhere, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won the tournament in 2014, came from behind to oust seventh seed Maria Sakkari in a 5-7 6-1 6-3 triumph.

Coco Gauff made the most of a second chance at the Linz Open, while Belinda Bencic suffered a surprise defeat on Tuesday.

Teenage sensation Gauff was defeated by Tamara Korpatsch in qualifying on Monday but entered the main draw as a lucky loser when sixth seed Maria Sakkari withdrew with a right wrist injury.

The American 15-year-old, playing her first WTA Tour event since losing to Naomi Osaka at the US Open, defeated Stefanie Voegele 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in two hours and two minutes to set up a meeting with Kateryna Kozlova in the second round.

Speaking about her last-minute entry into the main draw, Gauff told a news conference: "It was very surprising because I was supposed to do a press thing today. I had practiced earlier, went back to the hotel, and then got a phone call, and was back on court 40 minutes later.

"I didn't know too much about my opponent; I found out a little how she plays through word of mouth, but most of it was me improvising.

"This is my first WTA win indoors. I live in Florida, so we don't get a chance to play indoors that much, but I enjoy it."

Second seed Bencic lost in three sets to qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam, but Donna Vekic – seeded fourth – cruised past Polona Hercog 6-1 6-1.

Barbora Strycova lost 6-4 6-4 to Alize Cornet, while Julia Goerges and Kristina Mladenovic were among the other victors.

World number one Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of the China Open with a straight-sets win over Yulia Putintseva.

Barty completed a 6-4 6-2 triumph in an hour and 15 minutes, but was not overly enamoured with a performance featuring 23 winners and seven aces.

"It was solid without being fantastic," the Australian said afterwards. "It was what we needed to do. 

"There were times where it was pretty good and there were times where it was challenging. Pretty happy with how we were able to get on a roll in the second set a little bit there."

Barty came from a set down to defeat Putintseva in Madrid this year but there were no such heroics required of the French Open champion this time around.

Next up, she faces Saisai Zheng, who thrilled the home crowd and stunned 13th seed Sloane Stephens with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Osaka and Wozniacki dish out punishment

Naomi Osaka continued her dominant recent form as she dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-0 inside an hour.

Fresh from victory on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open, Japan's reigning Australian Open champion hit 21 winners to 11 unforced errors en route to a sixth successive win and claimed a phenomenal 91 per cent of points on her first serve.

Defending Caroline Wozniacki was in a similarly uncompromising mood as she saw off Christina McHale 6-4 6-0.

Wozniacki flew out of the blocks, winning five of the first seven games, only for McHale to check her progress by converting a fourth break point of the opener.

The former world number one responded emphatically, however, and McHale did not win another game.

More Kvitova misery for Mladenovic, Kenin and Riske fly the flag for the US

Petra Kvitova will face fellow seed and Venus Williams' conqueror Belinda Bencic after continuing her relentless record against Kristina Mladenovic.

Kvitova prevailed 6-4 6-4, taking her overall record against Mladenovic to 9-1, including three straight-sets victories this year.

"Against Kiki, I always have to play well because she can really play well, and she showed it in this match," Kvitova said. "I'm glad that I served pretty well and that it was a big weapon." 

Despite the punishing losses for McHale and Stephens, 15th seed Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske claimed some success for the United States contingent.

Riske was forced into a decider by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and came through 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Despite dropping serve with victory in sight at 5-3 in the third, Riske eventually saw off Tomljanovic in the next game – converting an eighth match point.

Kenin dropped her first two service games but regrouped to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2 and faces third seed Elina Svitolina in round three.

Two seeds going no further are Angelique Kerber and last week's Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka, who went down in straight sets to Polona Hercog and Daria Kasatkina respectively.

Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic both wasted little time in recording convincing wins to make it through to the Zhengzhou Open final.

Top seed Pliskova needed just 68 minutes to see off Ajla Tomljanovic, winning 93 per cent of the points on her first serve as she coasted to a 6-3 6-2 triumph.

The Czech's smooth progress came after she had to play twice on Friday following rain, recording wins over Polona Hercog and then Sofia Kenin.

The 27-year-old, ranked two in the world, will be aiming to win a fourth title in 2019, following on from triumphs in Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. She was also a beaten finalist in Miami.

Standing in her way will be Martic, who was fractionally quicker in winning her semi-final against Kristina Mladenovic. The seventh seed wrapped up a 6-0 6-3 result in 67 minutes.

She was aided by five double faults from Mladenovic in a lopsided first set, though the Frenchwoman improved in the second, coming close to a break in a lengthy seventh game.

However, Martic – who won her maiden WTA Tour title in Istanbul earlier this year – held under pressure before breaking emphatically in the next, allowing her to serve out for the match.

Karolina Pliskova doubled up to reach the semi-finals of the Zhengzhou Open and Kristina Mladenovic claimed the scalp of Elina Svitolina on Friday.

The top seed's last 16 match with Polona Hercog was finely poised when rain forced its suspension on Thursday, with Pliskova trailing 5-2 in the second set having taken the first.

However, Pliskova rattled off five straight games to win 6-3 7-5 to progress to a quarter-final with Sofia Kenin, which she subsequently came through in three sets 6-4 4-6 6-1.

"To play two matches in a day, it's never easy, but in the first one, I was lucky enough to not go to a third set, just finished quickly and saved some power for the next one," Pliskova said.

"I think I played good tennis in both matches. I was serving well, a lot of aces, which always helps, and there's a lot of positive things for tomorrow."

Pliskova will face Ajla Tomljanovic in the last four, the Australian another who had to play twice in the same day after 16 matches were postponed due to inclement weather 24 hours earlier.

Tomljanovic saw off Kiki Bertens in straight sets but had a more complicated passage through to the final four against Zheng Saisai.

After two hours and 35 minutes Tomljanovic won 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-4, moving a victory away from her fifth WTA final, having lost all of her previous four.

Kristina Mladenovic ousted second seed and US Open semi-finalist Svitolina, winning 6-4 4-6 6-3 to set up a showdown with Petra Martic, who ousted Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 5-7 6-4.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova was rescued by the rain at the Zhengzhou Open as Polona Hercog's fightback was brought to a halt.

Pliskova started brightly to take the first set 6-3 but the world number two was serving to stay in the second at 5-2 down when the weather intervened, as it had several times during the day.

The duo will resume on Thursday at the WTA Premier event to settle who will make it through to the last eight.

Sofia Kenin awaits the winner after the sixth seed defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2.

Petra Martic, seeded seventh, also progressed but had to battle back from a set down to overcome Fiona Ferro 3-6 6-1 6-2.

There was one seed who suffered a loss, though, with Caroline Garcia beaten 7-5 6-2 at the hands of Kristina Mladenovic.

Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka eased into the Silicon Valley Classic quarter-finals on a good day for the seeds.

Svitolina, the top seed at the WTA Premier event in San Jose, was untroubled by Daria Kasatkina in a 6-3 6-1 victory on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian is enjoying another fine year and her last-eight clash with Maria Sakkari will mark her sixth quarter-final of 2019 and she has won four of the previous five.

Sakkari, the seventh seed, was tested before getting past qualifier Mayo Hibi 4-6 6-4 6-2 at the hard-court tournament in California.

The second-seeded Sabalenka ended Coco Vandeweghe's first tournament of the year courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 victory.

Former world number nine Vandeweghe was making her return from ankle and foot injuries.

It was four from four for the seeds, with Carla Suarez Navarro beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6 6-1 6-2.

At the Citi Open, the only two seeds in action – Sofia Kenin and Monica Puig – departed.

Kenin went down to fellow American Lauren Davis 5-7 6-3 6-4 and Puig lost to qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Kristina Mladenovic edged 17-year-old wildcard Hailey Baptiste 6-4 4-6 6-3 and Jessica Pegula overcame Iga Swiatek 5-7 6-4 6-1.

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