Sydney, Nov 10 : Women's tennis world No 1 Ash Barty has been defeated by France's Kristina Mladenovic at the Fed Cup in the Australian city of Perth on Sunday.
The Australian went down 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) in a shock upset, leaving her country with a far slimmer hope of claiming its first Fed Cup in 45 years.
France needs just one more win from the two remaining contests to be played on Sunday, to claim the best of five matches and walk away with the top prize in women's tennis. An emotional Mladenovic struggled to put her feelings into words after one of the biggest wins of her career. "It's tough to speak," she said.
"We kept on fighting every single point. That's the way I love to play my tennis ... I just kept believing." Despite a stellar year for Barty, which left her top of the formal rankings, world No. 40 Mladenovic proved too much for the Aussie. From one set down, Mladenovic levelled the score at 4-4 in the second, breaking Barty's serve to take a 5-4 lead and holding serve to claim the second set.
Barty held on in the third set to force a tiebreaker, but once they got there the French player was unrelenting. Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic must defeat Pauline Parmentier in their second reverse singles match to force a doubles decider. (UNI-XINHUA)