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2019 Fed Cup semi-final, Rubber 2
Australia vs Belarus
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
Ashleigh Barty (Australia) vs Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
Ashleigh Barty will look to continue her strong 2019 as she spearheads Australia’s Fed Cup team in what will be a crucial second rubber against Victoria Azarenka. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from around 4pm (AEDT).
Barty has made an outstanding start to the season in 2019, and while she is still looking for a grand slam breakthrough, she comes into this Fed Cup tie on the back of a tournament victory in Miami.
It’s not inconceivable, given her form, and that of the rest of the Aussie team, that Barty will again need to win all three of her matches for Australia to advance, as she did in an away tie against the USA earlier this year.
The run in Miami saw Barty drop just two sets, with the, while she beat the woman who knocked her out at the Australian Open – Petra Kvitova – in the quarter-finals, and then breezed past the powerful Petra Kvitova in the final.
Barty, who is ranked just outside the top ten in the world, has excellent court movement and will be looking to put that to good use against Azarenka.
This is shaping as an excellent match as well, with Azarenka also in good form.
She should be full of confidence after making the final of her last tournament in Monterrey, where she fell to Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the final.
Her hard court form is not quite as good though, with the Belarussian falling in the second round of both Indian Wells and Miami, and while she is experienced and does have some prior strong results on hard courts, she may struggle to go with Barty on this surface in her current form, despite it traditionally being her best.
The 29-year-old has never quite made it back to the top of the sport after injury ruined her 2017 season, and being able to position properly against the talent and tennis IQ of Barty will be a major struggle.
The Australian has been in fine form, and while Azarenka will probably push her all the way to the post, the home crowd should get Barty over the line in what will be a crucial win for the Aussies as they look to qualify for the Fed Cup final for the first time since 1993.
Barty in three sets.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the second rubber at the Fed Cup semi-finals between Australia and Belarus from around 4pm (AEDT), or at the completion of the first rubber between Samantha Stosur and Aryna Sabalenka, and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Start time: Around 4pm (AEDT)
Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
TV: Live, 9Gem
Online: Live, 9Now
Betting: Australia $1.87, Belarus $1.87
Overall record: Played 1, Azarenka 1, Barty 0
Last meeting: 2018 Tokyo Open 1st round – Azarenka defeat Barty 6-4, 6-2
Ashleigh Barty last 10 matches: won 7, lost 3
Victoria Azarenka last 10 matches: won 6, lost 4