Barty bagels Garcia as Australia level Fed Cup final

France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrates winning her match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic during their Fed Cup tennis final in Perth Australia

France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrates winning her match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic during their Fed Cup tennis final in Perth Australia

World number one Ashleigh Barty hailed her "perfect match" in beating Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-0 to draw Australia level in the Fed Cup final against France.

Tomljanovic is scheduled to play again on Sunday, but given her performance Molik may change her mind and revert to Stosur - Australia's most successful ever singles player, spanning 16 years of Fed Cup action.

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. "It's about trying to nullify that the best I can".

One of just 11 players to defeat Barty in singles in 2019, world No.40 Mladenovic utilised her lethal forehand to devastating effect in Saturday's win over Tomljanovic.

"Kristina was in control and she was able to control the court a little bit, so I think the challenge for me tomorrow is to come out and try to take her out of her comfort zone". "She played well from the first point", Garcia said. "I started my year off here and it's a hell of a way to finish it off".

With Fed Cup veteran Sam Stosur overlooked for the singles, Molik's gamble backfired as Croatia-born Tomljanovic, who became eligible to represent Australia only a month ago, quickly crumbled under pressure.

The 26-year-old did not hit a single victor in the opening set, played in scorching heat but with the roof open at Perth Arena.

"It's a tough task for Ajla playing straightaway in the final", Mladenovic said.

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"I really (played) nearly a flawless match".

Tomljanovic admitted she struggled with nerves: "I wish I could have done better in the circumstances".

"Certainly from a complete point of view and having a complete game [it was the best]", Barty said following the match. "It didn't go as planned", she said.

Australia hasn't won the Fed Cup, then known as the Federation Cup, since 1974 when Evonne Goolagong, Dianne Fromholtz and Janet Young defeated the United States 2-1 in Italy. "It's really unique. You're not playing for yourself, you're playing for your country and teammates".

The last edition of a "regular" Fed Cup has kicked off in Perth, with Australia and France fighting for the prestigious title at RAC Arena.

They had some tight battles in the past but it was all about the home favorite Barty in Perth, dropping only eight points on serve and fending off both break chances to mount the pressure on her opponent who was miles from those numbers, unable to do anything on both the first and second serve and hitting three winners alongside more than 30 errors!

Fresh from partnering Hungary's Timea Babos to take out the doubles title at last week's season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, Mladenovic is set to pose a stern test for Barty.

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