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2019 Fed Cup semi-final, Rubber 3
Australia vs Belarus
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
Ashleigh Barty (Australia) vs Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)
The all-important third rubber of Australia’s Fed Cup semi-final will feature Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka in what should be an epic struggle between the two No.1 players. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 1pm (AEDT).
Yesterday’s action left the tie locked at one-all, after Sabalenka managed to pick up an almost three-hour victory over Samantha Stosur, and Barty went past Victoria Azarenka in a tough straight sets defeat.
Barty undoubtedly looked the better of the two players throughout their first matches on the Pat Rafter Arena, but will be under extreme amounts of pressure today.
When Australia played away to the USA in the quarter-finals, it was Barty who won all three of the matches she was involved in to take Australia to victory, and it looks like the same thing will have to happen here.
Given the matches both of these players yesterday though, as well as the slight change in conditions between them humidity-wise, Barty will have an enormous recovery advantage here.
There is a slight chance Sabalenka will be subbed out of the match for Aliaksandra Sasnovich, but that looks more likely to happen in the second tie.
Barty was outstanding yesterday. She was solid on serve, fought back from any minor setbacks, and ran away from Azarenka in the end.
Given Sabalenka’s biggest problem is how many errors she is prone to, this match-up really suits Barty, who has better racquet head control than nearly any player on the WTA circuit.
Her pace around the back of the court should also suit the Aussie down to the ground, and while there will be times she struggles to defend the power of Sabalenka, in the long run, you’d have to think the Belarussian will need to be near-on perfect to pick up the victory here.
Barty is under the pump, but her form line throughout 2019 is just so good. Sabalenka will need to be near perfect on serve, and based on what we saw yesterday, she will make far too many errors to take this from the Australian.
Barty in three sets.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this third rubber at the Fed Cup semi-finals between Australia and Belarus, and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Start time: 1pm (AEDT)
Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
TV: Live, 9Gem
Online: Live, 9Now
Betting: Barty $1.36, Sabalenka $3.25
Overall record: Played 3, Sabalenka 2, Barty 1
Last meeting: 2018 ZHuhai, Sabalenka defeat Barty 6-4, 6-4
Ashleigh Barty last 10 matches: won 8, lost 2
Aryna Sabalenka last 10 matches: won 6, lost 4