Perth (Australia) (AFP)
Kristina Mladenovic, who participated in the three victories of her country, was the heroine of the triumph (3-2) of France over Australia in the final of the Federation Cup, this Sunday in Perth, after winning the decisive doubles with Caroline Garcia , beating the local duo, formed by Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur.
The French couple won two sets, 6-4 and 6-3. This is the third title of France in the Fed Cup, after the trophies won in 1997 and 2003. France had lost the finals of 2004, 2005 and 2016.
"It is hard for me to realize what we have achieved, because in 36 hours I have been through a lot of emotions but we said we were going to win it all together and we have done it," said Garcia, who had started the series by losing the doubles by a double 6 -0 against Barty.
"I gave it my all, I am completely exhausted, it was not easy, I fought, I worked … This weekend in Australia and the whole campaign has been a great example of teamwork," added Mladenovic, the main protagonist of the win.
With a 1-1 draw after the first day, the Bleues took the advantage this Sunday with the victory of Mladenovic (40th WTA) over world number 1 Barty, winner of Roland Garros and the recent Masters, after two and a half hours of combat ( 2-6, 6-4 and 7-6 (7/1).
Then Australia equaled quickly, with the 6-4 and 7-5 triumph of its number 2, Ajla Tomljanovic (51st) over Pauline Parmentier (122nd), preferred by coach Julien Benneteau to his number 2, Garcia (45th WTA).
Associated in the decisive doubles, Mladenovic and Garcia gave up the start service before taking command of the game and imposing themselves in just over an hour. "I am the most proud man on the planet," Benneteau said, as soon as he finished.
– Benneteau rebuilt the group –
Retired in 2018, the former player has managed to hit the key in his first season as captain, especially when he reunited a group broken by the controversies, with the return of Garcia, who had resigned from the selection after the defeat in the end of 2016 against the Czech Republic.
"It is very exciting to share this with Caroline," Mladenovic said, illustrating the reconciliation by lying with his partner on the court after hitting the match ball.
If Garcia had shone in the previous two rounds – two points against Belgium in the first, two more against Romania of Simona Halep -, the final was a matter of Mladenovic.
After passing over Tomljanovic (6-1, 6-1) on Saturday, 'Kiki' signed one of the great moments of his career by beating Barty in a high-tension game.
The Australian had entered with good foot (3-0), but Mladenovic did not lower her arms and knew how to play her tricks, taking the victory in a tie break in which the number 1 only achieved one point.
"It has been Kristina who has contributed the three points. And we won the decisive doubles, I want to say that it was written … Although we would have preferred to win in three games to avoid some cold sweats," Garcia added.
© 2019 AFP