Aussies up 2-1 as Barty thumps Kostyuk
Ash Barty was clinical in brushing aside Ukranian young gun Marta Kostyuk, helping Australia to a 2-1 lead on the second day of Fed Cup action in Canberra.
Ash Barty has delivered a resounding performance to put Australia in pole position in its Fed Cup tie against Ukraine.
A day after a three-set struggle against Lyudmyla Kichenok, Barty was far sharper in beating down Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-3 in Canberra.
The result puts Australia ahead 2-1, with Daria Gavrilova next up hoping to deliver the hosts an unassailable lead.
“It was a little bit cleaner today,” said Barty, who finished the match with 17 unforced errors compared with Kostyuk’s 33.
“It was nice to come out here – there’s nothing better than grasscourt tennis when the sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky, so it’s beautiful conditions.
“Hopefully Dash can come out now and get the job done for us.”
Barty broke immediately in the opening set and never let up against her inexperienced opponent, who despite being just 15 years of age upset Gavrilova in yesterday’s second singles rubber.
Kostyuk felt overwhelmed, having to be comforted by Ukrainian team coach Mikhail Filima after losing the first set.
Her emotional state contrasted with the steely calm of Barty, who continued to motor through the match in the second set.
“She’s playing well beyond her years … you can see she plays with her heart on her sleeve,” Barty said.
“I think she’ll be a massive part of the Ukrainian Fed Cup team for many years to come.”
The Queenslander reached match point in the eighth game of the second set, but fired a forehand well long.
She settled in the next game, producing the goods at the net and benefitting from a rash of Kostyuk errors – including the Ukrainian’s eighth double fault – to seal victory.
“I think today I had to come out and use a little bit of experience. I’ve probably played more on grass courts and more in Fed Cup, so I had to try and use that as best as I could,” Barty said.
“And obviously the slice was going to be effective today. I knew I had to serve well as well.”
Gavrilova has a chance to redeem herself from a “shocker” on day one and close out the tie when she faces Nadiia Kichenok, a late substitute for sister Lyudmyla.
If required, Barty will back up in the doubles with Casey Dellacqua against Ukraine’s pairing of Nadiia Kichenok and 14-year-old Dasha Lopatetskaya.