Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk continued her Australian dominance on a topsy-turvy opening day of Fed Cup World Group II action. Meanwhile, Romania is off to the perfect start against Canada.
Here’s how things stand after Day 1:
Australia 1 - 1 Ukraine
Romania 2 - 0 Canada
Italy 1 -1 Spain
Slovakia 1 - 1 Russia
Marta Kostyuk has already proven that Australia is her happiest hunting ground. The 15-year-old Ukrainian won the 2017 Australian Open junior title, then came back in 2018 to qualify for her first Grand Slam main draw where she made it all the way to third round before falling to her countrywoman Elina Svitolina.
Coming back for Fed Cup, Kostyuk kept winning - this time on the grass in Canberra - taking down Daria Gavrilova 7-6(3), 6-3 to rescue a point for Ukraine and level the tie.
“I’m playing good tennis,” Kostyuk told FedCup.com. “A fairytale is more like it happened once and you don’t know when it will happen again, so this is just another great tournament for me.”
Australia’s No.1 Ashleigh Barty earned the opening win, defeating Lyudmyla Kichenok in a tight 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 battle.
Meanwhile, hosts Romania proved dominant even without former World No.1 Simona Halep in their lineup, winning both rubbers against Canada to end the day with a 2-0 lead.
Sorana Cirstea breezed past Carol Zhao 6-2, 6-2, while Irina-Camelia Begu faced a battle against Bianca Andreescu. She needed three sets to see off Andreescu - interestingly enough, a Canadian born to two Romanian parents - in a topsy turvy battle 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1.
Italy and Spain are level at one win apiece in Chieti, Italy after victories from WTA veterans Carla Suarez Navarro and Sara Errani.
Suarez Navarro got the Spaniards off to an early lead after easing past Fed Cup debutante Jasmine Paolini, 6-2, 6-3. But Errani rescued a point for the hosts after clinically taking down Lara Arruabarrena 6-1, 6-1.
“Playing away is always complicated,” Suarez Navarro told FedCup.com after her victory. “It’s not always easy, feeling some nerves too because you want to perform well.
“I like team competitions, it’s a different week. There’s a nice group spirit and we all know what we are here for. We’ve been working very hard and that paid off.”
Meanwhile in Bratislava, hosts Slovakia dodged a bullet against a young Russia squad, rescuing a point to close out Day 1 tied at one win apiece.
Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva drew first blood with a solid victory against Fed Cup debutante Viktoria Kuzmova, edging past 6-4, 6-2. With Anna Kalinskaya up a set in the second rubber against Magdalena Rybarikova, it looked like Slovakia was in for an uphill climb. But Rybarikova turned it around, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 after a marathon two hours and 23 minutes to level the tie.
All photos courtesy of FedCup.com.