The top-ranked players from Belarus and France helped send each nation through to the Fed Cup semifinals on Sunday.
Belrusian No.1 Aryna Sabalenka delivered a ruthless performance to defeat Laura Siegemund, 6-1, 6-1, to clinch the opening tie for her country against in Braunschweig, before French No.1 Caroline Garcia sealed France's spot in April's semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Belgian No.1 Elise Mertens in Liège.
Belarus eventually blanked Germay, 4-0, as Victoria Azarenka made her first Fed Cup appearance in three years alongside Lidziya Marozava, and they defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Mona Barthel in a match tiebreak, 6-1, 0-6, 11-9.
The Belgians later avoided the shutout, however, esuring the tie ended 3-1 as Ysaline Bonaventure and Kirsten Flipkens defeated Pauline Parmentier and Fiona Ferro in the doubles, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
World No.9 Sabalenka had few issues with the unconvential tennis that the German brought to the table, blasting 18 winners in the match, saving all six break points she faced and breaking serve herself five times.
Seven of the last nine games of the match were extended to deuce between the two, but it was the 20-year-old who had all the answers and won six of them to put Belarus into the final four for the second time.
"I’m so happy and our team are so happy and it’s an unbelievable result to win 3-0 and to win two matches, it’s incredible," Sabalenka told fedcup.com after the match.
“I know she’s a great player, she plays consistent tennis. She has a tricky game and it’s really tough to play against her, but I was watching her matches to see what she was doing on the court.
"I was pretty calm because we led 2-0. I said yesterday, it’s pressure on them and I just needed to go and show my tennis and they needed to try find a way to win (against) us, and I’m so happy that I beat her."
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) February 10, 2019
Garcia raced out of the gates against World No.21 Mertens, winning the first three games of the third rubber in just 11 minutes and hardly looked back to help France reach the final four for the fourth time in five years.
The 25-year-old made just six unforced errors in the opening set, and dug out of a 15-40 hole in the seventh game in one of Mertens' lone challenges of the match.
The French No.1 broke again to seal the set, and earned her third overall in the match in a decisive fourth game in the second set.
More to come...