The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Tennis, Fed Cup: Belarus takes 1-0 lead over Australia in semifinal

Associated Press Saturday, 20 April 2019, 08:09 Last update: about 1 month ago

Aryna Sabalenka has given Belarus a 1-0 lead over Australia after defeating Samantha Stosur 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in the opening singles match of their Fed Cup semifinal Saturday on hard courts at Pat Rafter Arena.

Sabalenka won the first set when she broke Stosur's serve in the final game. Stosur won the second by holding serve after earlier failing to consolidate on a service break at 4-3.

In the final set, Sabalenka saved two break points in the first game and broke Stosur's serve in the fourth, then served out the match in 2 hours, 47 minutes.

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Ninth-ranked Ashleigh Barty of Australia was scheduled to play frequent doubles partner Victoria Azarenka in the second singles match. The teams will play reverse singles and a doubles match on Sunday.

It is the first Fed Cup meeting between the countries. Australia last reached the Fed Cup semifinals in 2014, losing 3-1 to Germany, and is looking to make the World Group final for the first time since 1993.

Belarus has reached the semifinals for the last three years and lost the 2017 final 3-2 to the U.S.

France is hosting Romania on clay at Rouen in the other semifinal this weekend. The semifinal winners will meet in the championship on Nov. 9-10, with Australia playing at home if it advances.

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