Fed Cup: Tomljanovic to the rescue after Barty's shock loss_1


Australia and France will face off in a Fed Cup title doubles decider in Perth after Ajla Tomljanovic overcame her nightmare debut to defeat Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5.

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will team up with Samantha Stosur in pursuit of Australia's first Fed Cup title in 45 years after Tomljanovic prevailed in Sunday's second reverse singles match to even the ledger at 2-2 in the best-of-five rubbers final.

France has been one win away from claiming the Fed Cup title after Kristina Mladenovic broke Australian hearts with a stunning 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) win over world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in Perth.

Barty's 15-match Fed Cup winning streak came crashing to a halt as Mladenovic mounted a lion-hearted comeback to prevail in two hours and 31 minutes and put France up 2-1 in the best-of-five rubbers final.

The loss means Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic must defeat Pauline Parmentier in Sunday's second reverse singles match to force a doubles decider.

France opted to bring in world No.122 Parmentier as a substitute for Caroline Garcia, who Barty thrashed 6-0 6-0 in Saturday's singles rubber.

Mladenovic was struggling for words and in tears after claiming the biggest victory of her career.

"It's tough to speak," the Frenchwoman said.

We kept on fighting every single point. That's the way I love to play my tennis … I just kept believing."

Barty had gone into Sunday's match at RAC Arena as the hot favourite after her annihilation of Garcia the previous day.

But world No.40 Mladenovic again proved too good, storming back from being a set down to consolidate her defeat of Barty on clay in Rome six months ago.

In a match full of momentum swings, Barty rode a wave of support from the near-capacity crowd to go up 6-5 in the third set.

But the equally determined Mladenovic served to love and didn't blink during a ruthless tiebreaker.

Barty will be left to lament an uncharacteristically wayward performance in which she made 47 unforced errors.

The French Open champion came out firing with back-to-back aces to take the first game, then broke Mladenovic's serve before taking the first set in 33 minutes.

But the French No.1, who thrashed Tomljanovic 6-1 6-1 on Saturday, forced her way back into the contest and consolidated in an epic 66-minute deciding set.

More to come

-AAP