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Barty leads Australia to Fed Cup victory over Ukraine

Australia's Ashleigh Barty hits a volley return as she and partner Casey Dellacqua play against Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok and her sister Lyudmyla in their women's doubles Federation Cup tennis match in Canberra today. AFP
Australia's Ashleigh Barty hits a volley return as she and partner Casey Dellacqua play against Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok and her sister Lyudmyla in their women's doubles Federation Cup tennis match in Canberra today. AFP

Barty leads Australia to Fed Cup victory over Ukraine

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 today.

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 playoffs 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 playoff.

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 No1 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 No26 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 No3 Elina Svitolina and their next five top-ranked singles players.

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