World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty had no room for errors in the second rubber of the Fed Cup final in Perth after Ajla Tomljanovic had lost the first match to Kristina Mladenovic. Doing what she knows the best, Barty stepped on the court against Caroline Garcia and toppled the French girl 6-0, 6-0 in 56 minutes!
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!
Ashleigh tamed her shots nicely, delivering six breaks from 14 opportunities to seal the deal in no time at all and level the overall score at 1-1. Barty held with an ace in the first game and broke Caroline with a smash winner in game two for an instant lead, holding at love in game three to extend the advantage.
A forehand down the line winner secured another break for Roland Garros champion in game four, making another quick hold with an ace and converting the fifth set point at 5-0 with a backhand slice winner to deliver a bagel.
Ashleigh grabbed the first game of the second set with another ace, breaking in game two with a forehand winner and racing into a 3-0 lead after a service winner. With no rhythm, Garcia sprayed a forehand mistake in the fourth game to give serve away, wasting those two break chances in game five and netting a forehand in the next game to suffer a terrible loss that should provide a massive boost to Barty ahead of deciding Sunday's rubbers.
"Overall, today I executed very well, making Caro pretty uncomfortable," said Barty. "I felt like in the first three or four of my service games I was in control of a lot of the points, and Caro is a player who likes court position, she likes to be up in the court.
So, that was a key factor for me today. And that's probably the best I've returned in a long, long time. A double bagel is not that important to me, I played well in some tough moments like at 4-0 in the second. I backed myself into a little bit of a hole, giving Caro a look at two or three second serves in a row and I think I wanted to grab that game to get myself out of it and to try and keep that momentum going for us.
Caro is a good friend of mine — it's a tough one to swallow, I've been on the back end of them as well. She can bounce back. When Mladenovic and I played in Rome in May, it was a different surface, completely different time of the year, and I feel like I've changed and developed as a person and a player since that match.
I know that Kiki's most comfortable on clay but now we're back on hard courts in Australia, so I think I'm looking forward to it tomorrow to try and turn the tide a little bit."