Melbourne: Australia’s ever-dependable Ash Barty doled out the dreaded double-bagel to Caroline Garcia to level the Fed Cup final against France at 1-1 after the opening day’s singles at Perth Arena on Saturday.
On a day of scorching heat, France struck the early blow when Kristina Mladenovic thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-1 but the terrier-like Barty wrested back the momentum with her 6-0 6-0 humiliation of Garcia.
World number one Barty will return on Sunday for the reverse singles and also the doubles, if required, as Australia bid for their first Fed Cup title in 45 years.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect match. That’s probably the best tennis match I’ve ever played in my life,” a thrilled Barty said courtside.
“What a place to do it, this is incredible.” Australia were wobbling after Tomljanovic’s torrid Fed Cup debut match against Mladenovic, but a beaming Barty strode onto court cradling her niece in her arms and soaking up a huge ovation from the packed crowd.