The United States hosted a strong Australian Fed Cup in North Carolina this weekend, and despite vocal home support, fell in a dramatic tie, 3-2.
Action in Asheville began on Saturday with singles. Australia's No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, coming in from a quarterfinal run in Melbourne, eased past 20-year-old Sofia Kenin, 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Congrats to Team Australia on your win! Great match @ashbar96 ???? Was a great experience playing for my country and great support from the crowd! And the amazing support from you is everything to me ❤️ So happy to share these memories with all of you @captain_kathy @lisamraymond @madisonkeys @danimalcollins @nmelicha
Kenin was showing her trademark fighting spirit, but it wasn't enough to upset the world No. 13.
Madison Keys then stepped up to the plate for the United States, delivering a dismissive 6-2, 6-2 win over Kimberly Birrell.
In the clash between No. 1's on Sunday, Barty edged Keys, 6-4, 6-1 before Danielle Collins came to the rescue.
Collins, a recent Australian Open semifinalist, needed to win to keep the U.S. in the tie. She battled to beat Daria Gavrilova in three sets, surviving a never-ending game at 2-2 in the third set to cruise to victory, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
The 25-year-old also came to the rescue for a shy Fed Cup mascot.
Gavrilova may not have contributed a point on the court, but she gave all kinds of support from the sidelines.
As the deciding doubles match began, tension was at an all-time high in the US Cellular Arena, but the away team would not be denied. Barty teamed up with Priscilla Hon to seal the semifinal spot for Australia, 6-4, 7-5 over Collins and Nicole Melichar.
It was an exciting and dramatic weekend for both teams, and even with the United States falling, they tested Australia to the limit.
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