Barty, Stosur outlast Belarus to send Aussies to Fed Cup final

Ashleigh Barty is looking to lead Australia into a first Fed Cup final in 26 years

Australia's women tennis players are eyeing their first Fed Cup title in almost five decades after Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur won their doubles match to help clinch a 3-2 semifinal win in Brisbane on Sunday.

Ipswich's world No.9 oozed class on Pat Rafter Arena as she got the better of doubles partner and former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka to level the tie 1-1 following Samantha Stosur's stoic three-set loss to Aryna Sabalenka.

Barty had some trouble in the first set against the two-time Australian Open champion and saved three break points at 5-5 to go on to win 7-6 (2) 6-3 and level the tie at 1-1.

Alicia Molik says it's up to Ashleigh Barty to decide how far she can scale the tennis heights before Australia host November's Fed Cup final.

"It's massive for all of us.it's pretty good so far but I want it to be better tomorrow", Molik said of the side's fighting effort in front of a rowdy home crowd.

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France, who won the competition in 1997 and 2003, will visit Australia in the November 9-10 final.

In the post-match press conference, the often stone-face Stosur allowed herself a brief moment of emotion as tears welled in her eyes after the victory.

World number 10 Sabalenka looked completely out of sorts in the first two sets against Stosur, with both players struggling to hold serve.

Azarenka sent the tie into the decider when she produced some of the high quality tennis that had propelled her to two Australian Open titles.

World number nine Barty was flawless all weekend, winning both her singles matches against Sabalenka and Azarenka in straight sets before lining up in the doubles, and she needed to be.

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Stosur was out of touch and fired down seven double faults as Azarenka won the set in just 29 minutes and the second followed a similar pattern.

Her serving wobbles continued with Barty exploiting the weakness with her all-court play and broke again to pull 5-2 clear when Sabalenka hit a forehand into the net.

World No. 2 Halep outclassed Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-1 in the northern French city of Rouen where 1,000 Romanian fans drowned out the larger home support.

Barty had earlier given Australia a 2-1 lead after a superb mixture of tactics, scrambling defence and a powerful service game to beat Sabalenka 6-2 6-2.

Belarus were beaten 3-2 by the United States in their only Fed Cup final appearance in Minsk in 2017.

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