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Ash Barty has gotten Australia’s Fed Cup battle with the USA off to a good start, defeating Sofia Kenin in straight sets.
Ashleigh Barty 6 7
Sofia Kenin 1 6
After an encouraging Australian Open, Australian women’s tennis gets its chance to announce it’s arrival on the world stage this morning when Australia takes on the United States in the Federation Cup at the US Cellular Arena in North Carolina.
In Australia’s first World Group tie match since 2015, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty will take on Sofia Kenin in the first match. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 5am (AEDT).
With youngster Kim Birrell as the other Australian singles player, Ash Barty knows the pressure is firmly on her to get Australia off to a strong start.
She comes into this Federation Cup in great form, making the final in Sydney before reaching the quarters of the Australian Open.
Her conqueror in both matches, Petra Kvitova, went on to the final of the first grand slam tournament of the year.
Her impressive Australian summer results have lifted her to No.13 in the world, making her the highest ranked player on the court this weekend.
Her opponent today, Sofia Kenin, is the world ranked No.37. Aged just 20, she also enjoyed a good Australian summer.
She won in Hobart, taking out Caroline Garcia, Kirsten Flipkens and Alize Cornet on the way to her first WTA title.
Her Australian Open wasn’t as successful, losing to world No.1 Simona Halep in the second round over three tight sets.
USA captain, Kathy Rinaldi, obviously has faith in Kenin as she has held Australian Open semi-finalist, Danielle Collins, out of the second singles spot.
This will be the 15th Federation Cup clash between Australia and the USA, with the USA leading 9-5 and winning the last battle 4-0 in Brisbane 3 years ago.
Playing in front of a big home crowd, the USA will go in as favourites.
However, Barty has won her only match with Kenin, winning 6-3 6-2 in Charleston, USA on clay in 2018.
The home crowd will lift Kenin but I think Ashleigh Barty will get Australia off to a great start, with a three-set win predicted.