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Fed Cup: Ash Barty and Priscilla Hon break semi-final drought as Australia overcome US 3-2

Sporting News logo Sporting News 11/02/2019

a woman hitting a ball with a racket © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited Australia's Fed Cup finals dream has been kept alive as Ash Barty and Priscilla Hon defeated the US 6-4 7-5 in the doubles decider on Monday.

Barty had earlier defeated America's Madison keys in straight sets to push Australia ahead 2-1, but a loss for Daria Gavriolva later in the day to Danielle Collins. 

With the two nations going into the fifth rubber on two matches apiece, Barty and Hon partnered up for the first time to meet Nicole Melichar and Collins in front of a boisterous Asheville crowd.

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Going on to win the first set 6-4, the Australian pair just overcame the US outfit by five points. While the tourists won a total of 42 points, the Americans fell short at 37.

But looking closer at the total winners taken in the set it's clear that the Aussie duo were in better form. With 14 total winners - nine forehand and five backhand - the women in green-and-gold dominated the scene over the home-side who took just six.

With the second set going game for game, Hon and Barty broke the Americans side in the seventh after an incredible performance at the net by the debutant.

But the US returned with a double break to bring the set back on serve going into the ninth game.

After Barty brought the set to five games apiece with a quick service game, the Aussies broke back at the crucial moment for a chance to serve for the match.

With Australia leading 40-love on match point, a strong serve from the debutant proved too much for the homeside.

Playing and winning her first Fed Cup match for Australia, Hon said that she was honoured to win with Barty on her side.

"This is a dream come true, it's always been my dream to play for Australia," Hon said after the match.

"(Playing) alongside Ash, I've always looked up to her. She's helped me out so much, so we wouldn't have got the win without her."

After winning all three matches over the weekend, Barty said she was proud to play for her country alongside the debutant.

"There's nothing better than coming out to play a live tie for your country," she said.

"For Pri (Priscilla) to play the way that she did today, I'm just so proud of her."

Australia will now host Belarus in their first Fed Cup semi-final tie since 2014.

The 2019 play-offs draw will be live streamed from the ITF headquarters in London on Tuesday February 12, at 11:00pm AEST.

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