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2-3. Australia defeats the United States and will play semi-finals against Belarus

 The women’s tennis team of Australia defeated the United States 3-2 on Sunday to conclude the first round of the World Group Federation Cup after winning the decisive fifth doubles match and move to the semifinals that played against Belarus.

The decisive triumph of Australia came from the hand of the pair of doubles formed by Ashleigh Barty and Priscilla Hon that prevailed in two straight sets by 6-4 and 7-5 to the local tennis players Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar.

Barty, 22, currently number 13 in the world in singles and sixth in doubles, became the great hero of Australia and the executioner of the United States with three wins in his possession.
Before the decisive victory of Australia, Collins had managed to tie (2-2) the tie for the United States to win by 6-1, 3-6 and 6-2 to Daria Gavrilova in the fourth singles match.

The other triumph achieved by the United States of individuals was achieved by Madison Keys, who won by 6-2 and 6-2 to Kimberly Berril in the second singles match of the first day, which was played on Saturday at the track of hard surface of the auditorium US Cellular Arena, of Asheville (Carolina of the North), that registered a full one of more than 7,000 spectators in the launching slips.

While Australia was ahead in the tie from the start with the win in the first singles match that Barty won by 6-1, 7-6 (2) to Sofia Kenin and then did the same with Keys who defeated by 6-4 and 6-1.
As expected, Barty was going to be the key player in the doubles match with the debut of Hon debutante, barely 20 years old, but she did great tennis and showed no nerves at all in her great start in the competition of the Federation Cup.

Although the United States had the local public devoted to its cause, Australia had Barty on the hard track of the Ashville Cell Center, which was again inspired by all facets of the game and invincible as it had shown before Kenin and then against Keys , the number 17 in the world, and the finalist of the 2017 US Open.

Barty and Hon beat the experienced American duo of Melichar and Collins, who never could with the aggressive and highly coordinated tennis that the young Australian couple always showed.
“We had an incredible weekend and there is nothing better than going out and playing a live draw for your country,” Barty said. “For Pri (Hon) to play as she played today, I am very proud of her.”

Hon is ranked 143 on the WTA list and 125th in doubles and had never competed with Barty, but she did not show nerves against American rivals.

“This is my dream come true,” Hon declared at the end of the game. “I’ve always wanted to play for Australia and next to Ash (Barty).” I’ve always admired her all my life.
Hon was not originally selected to play doubles, but team captain Alicia Molik surprised with her departure to the track for the crucial second day of the tie.

Birrell, also 20, who lost to Keys in the singles match on Saturday, was sacrificed by Molik on Sunday for the fourth and final singles match played by Gavrilova, although he did not show his best form.
Molik acknowledged that it was a risk, with Gavrilova without victories in 2019.

The world number 47 fought, but fell to Collins, who always showed more consistent tennis and made the United States remain alive in the tie, leaving the doubles final.
Molik, on the other hand, placed Hon next to Barty and played as a veteran doubles team.

Australia will play against Belarus in April, and the venue will be decided by a draw, since the two countries have never met in the Federation Tennis Cup.
It is the first time since 2014 that Australia reaches the semifinals. The other semifinal will be between France and Romania. (EFE) .-

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