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Ash Barty hands Australia the lead in Fed Cup tie against Ukraine

11 February 2018 1:40 AM
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Australian star Ash Barty beat rising Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-3 in 66 minutes to give the hosts a crucial 2-1 lead in a World Group II Fed Cup tie at the Canberra Tennis Centre on Sunday.

The result put Australia in the box seat to clinch the tie, with the victor to play off against one of the World Group's four first round losers for a place in the final eight in April.

All eyes were on Barty to start the day after 15-year-old Kostyuk put the heat on the hosts with an upset of Daria Gavrilova on Saturday.

The Australian No. 1 enjoyed a brilliant start, opening up a healthy lead in the first set and refusing to look back.

Kostyk boasts limited experience on grass and looked anything but comfortable after she fell to the turf in the first set, and Barty began to dominate soon after.

It took just 27 minutes for Barty to claim the first set in comprehensive fashion and she was just as dominant in the second, saying there is no better surface to play on than grass when the sun in shining.

A day after being pushed by world No. 883 Lyudmyla Kichenok, Barty was on another level with a host of deft touches making for a far more convincing start to the day.

Kostya left the court after the opening set with the teenage sensation overwhelmed by a Barty masterclass.

The rising Ukranian star asserted herself early in the second set but ultimately proved no match for the firing Ipswich product as the contest wore on.


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