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2019 Fed Cup semi-final, Rubber 4
Australia vs Belarus
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
Samantha Stosur (Australia) vs Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
The penultimate fourth rubber of the Fed Cup semi-final between Australia and Belarus will see veterans Samantha Stosur and Victoria Azarenka clash on Pat Rafter Arena. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from around 3pm (AEDT).
Given yesterday’s matches, when Stosur lost to Aryna Sabalenka, and Azarenka lost to Ashleigh Barty, there is every chance both teams will swing the changes for this fourth rubber.
It’ll be critical to take the point for both sides, given they come into Day 2 locked at one-all.
The options to replace for both teams will be Daria Gavrilova for Australia, and Aliaksandra Sasnovich for the visitors – who are both more than up to the task of taking this on.
Stosur, who played in the first match yesterday, struggled to hold her serve against Sabalenka, but also had no problems breaking back in one of the stranger matches you’re ever likely to see.
This match-up is one which should suit the Aussie much better though, particularly given Azarenka has lost some of the defensive ability out of the corners of the court which took her to be formerly No.1 in the world.
The Aussie will need to use her power and get on the attack where possible though, because Azarenka still has excellent court movement and can hit the ball strongly herself.
At times yesterday, Azarenka looked like she was going to break down Barty with that groundstroke game, but in the long run, struggled to put the Aussie away, before being overwhelmed as she struggled playing the enormous amount of variations from the other end of the court.
Azarenka, in the long run, has a stunning record against Stosur, having won nine of their ten career encounters, however, they haven’t played since Azarenka’s injury, which rubber her out of the sport for a year in 2017.
The Belarussian hasn’t been at the same level since that point in time, but she should come away with the win over the ageing veteran of Australian tennis.
Should Azarenka and Stosur both line-up for this fourth rubber, you’d have to tip Azarenka, who was solid, but outclassed by Barty yesterday. Stosur will make her fight for it, as she did to Sabalenka yesterday.
Azarenka in three sets
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the 2019 Fed Cup semi-finals from around 3pm (AEDT) or at the completion of the third rubber, and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Start time: Around 3pm (AEDT)
Venue: Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane
TV: Live, 9Gem
Online: Live, 9Now