Quarter-final (9-10 February)
Garcia marks his return, Belgium-France, 0-3
The 2019 Fed Cup campaign begins in Liege against Belgium. But, in reality, it started upstream when Julien Benneteau, who showed his stripes as captain, convinced the then French number one, Caroline Garcia, to get involved in the game of the team competition. Not easy because the Lyonnaise, who had imposed a break with the Fed Cup in the aftermath of the lost final of 2016, had very badly taken the tweet mocking (LOL) and the spades of his ex-teammates at the announcement of his package for injury on the edge of a dam against Spain in April 2017
Caroline Garcia returned to France in the quarter-final at Liege. (A. Reau / The Team)
In Belgium, we thus watch for the behavior of Garcia and the atmosphere of reunion. Kristina Mladenovic, pillar of the blue house, is put on the bench by Benneteau and pouted all weekend. But Garcia assures her, for his return: tense but victorious against Alison Van Uytvanck (7-6, 4-6, 6-2) on Saturday, released to give the point of victory against Elise Mertens (6-2 , 6-3) on Sunday. Because the day before, Alize Cornet, multi-traumatized Fed Cup, was flawless against the same Mertens to whom she made thirty places in the WTA rankings (7-6, 6-2). Benneteau made the bet to gather all his strength despite past tensions. He won it. Beautiful first.
Pauline Parmentier rejoices after her victory, which allowed France to snatch the double. (N. Luttiau / The Team)
The Blues have put in Rouen, clay under the feet of Simona Halep, the winner of Roland Garros 2018. The Romanian, number 2 world, feast, expecting against Kristina Mladenovic (6-3, 6 -1) the first day, solid (6-7, 6-3, 6-4) the second day under the uninhibited assault of Caroline Garcia during a monumental 3 hours fight. Fortunately, the French did not give up on the second Romanian knives: Garcia did not shudder against Mihaela Buzarnescu (6-3, 6-3) and Pauline Parmentier, out of the hat by Julien Benneteau, managed to equalize to 2 -2 under pressure against Irina Begu (6-3, 2-6, 6-2).
Halep must therefore pick up in doubles, she has given herself the mission to lead his country in the final. In a fiery atmosphere, the doubled Garcia-Mladenovic reformed, however, will thwart his plans. Despite the loss of the first set, the French do not crack and reverse the fate of the meeting, victorious in three sets and 2h39 'effort (5-7, 6-3, 6-4) of the duo Halep-Niculescu. The last Fed Cup home game, on this home-away format, was epic. France is in the final.
Kristina Mladenovic was sparkling throughout the weekend of the final. (J. Prevost / The Team)
Opposite, there is Australia who is waiting for a coronation in the Fed Cup for 45 years. there is Ashleigh Barty, world number one, at home, in Perth, winner of Roland-Garros in June, the Masters the previous weekend and Caroline Garcia in ruthless mode (6-0, 6-0) Saturday. France goes from a distance. But Kristina Mladenovic (40th world) has faith in herself. And his faith overthrows the mountains. Without a shot on Saturday to open the scoring against Ajla Tomljanovic paralyzed for his first selection with Australia (6-1, 6-1). Without faint Sunday to shoot down Barty in the tie-break of the third set (2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1)), even though she was led a set to zero, break point against her to 3 -4 in the second set.
Tomljanovic rallied to beat Pauline Parmentier (6-4, 7-5) and bring Australia up. But the pair Garcia-Mladenovic dominates Barty-Stosur, feverish, in the fifth match (6-4, 6-3). France wins its third Fed Cup (after 1997 and 2003). She owes it to Julien Benneteau, a flame captain for his first campaign, to his collective that led him to that point and, in Perth, a lot to "Kiki".