Fed Cup: Mladenovic and Garcia edge Romania in epic semi-final encounter


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Fed Cup: Mladenovic and Garcia edge Romania in epic semi-final encounter

After super exciting opening Fed Cup World Group semi-final tie between Australia and Belarus that was decided in the fifth doubles rubber, France and Romania also went all the way in Rouen. After more than seven and a half hours of action on clay, France will fight for the first Fed Cup crown since 2003 after a 3-2 triumph that drew the most from every player on the court!

Simona Halep and Caroline Garcia delivered the opening two points for their countries on Saturday and it was Halep who took down Garia in a thrilling third rubber, prevailing 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in just under three hours to send Romania a win away from their first Fed Cup final.

Simona saved nine out of 13 break points and she grabbed six breaks to cross the finish line first and claim the 20th Fed Cup singles rubber win in 25 matches! The opening set lasted for more than 70 minutes and it certainly didn't look like that in the first 20 minutes, with Garcia opening a 4-0 lead after finding her rhythm right from the start.

Halep bounced back in style, losing just six points in the next five games to erase the deficit and move in front, serving for the set at 5-4. Garcia made one last push, breaking back to level the score and create two set points at 6-5.

Halep saved them and she was 6-5 up in the tie break, missing her chance and losing three straight points to steal the breaker 8-6. Leaving this setback behind her, Simona earned two breaks in set number two for a 6-3, building the momentum before the decider where she kept her serve safe, waiting for a chance on the return and finding at 4-4 when she secured the crucial break, winning the last three games to move over the top and put Romania 2-1 up.

Pauline Parmentier had to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu in the fourth rubber to keep France alive and she forged a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory in two hours and four minutes to level the overall score at 2-2. Carried by the partisan crowd in Rouen, Parmentier saved her best tennis for the final set when she sailed through her service games and grabbed two breaks to wrap up the win and set the deciding doubles clash that would determine the second finalist.

Sharing the court for the first time since Dubai 2017, Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia gave their best to overcome Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes. The French pair earned the decisive break at 4-4 in the third set and served out for the win after a service winner from Garcia to start a massive celebration with Julien Benneteau and the rest of the squad, enjoying the best Fed Cup run in the last 16 years.