PERTH, Australia – Kristian Mladenovic reacted with delight after playing a leading role as the French squad lifted the Fed Cup by defeating Australia 3-2 away from home over the weekend.
The French went into the tie as outsiders but Mladenovic beat Ajla Tomljanovic in the opening rubber before producing her best tennis to upset WTA World No.1 Ashleigh Barty, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). In a decisive doubles match, she partnered Caroline Garcia to overcome Barty and Samantha Stosur, 6-4, 6-3.
It was the French squad’s third Fed Cup triumph but first since 2003 and helped complete a childhood dream of Mladenovic, who along with Garcia had come up just short in 2016, when they lost a critical doubles rubber against the Czech Republic.
“To win it like that with Caro, it’s as if it was written. It was destiny. It’s a great story,” she said having teamed up with her compatriot, with whom she won the women’s doubles title at Roland Garros in 2016.
“It’s a dream come true. I dreamed of it in front o my TV screen when I was little. I absolutely wanted to win the Fed Cup.
“It’s hard to put into words what happened this weekend. These are indescribable emotions, unforgettable moments.
“On a personal level, my level of play over the two days… If anyone had told me that I would be in position to win a thriller against Barty, who’s brilliant at the moment, to win the point and then beat her and Stosur in the doubles…”
And the 26-year-old, who is the WTA World No.38 in singles and No.2 in doubles, believes that success that she enjoyed in Perth can act as a springboard for her 2020 season.
“This season, I just missed some big results in the Grand Slams,” she said. “I beat a lot of Top 10 players this season. I’m working on it. I know I can do it.
“I’ve always managed to take big scalps. It’s anchored in me, it’s me personality, my mind, my attitude, my passion for tennis and for the fight. The harder it is, the more I work. This is just the beginning.”