Kristina Mladenovic has toppled world number one Ashleigh Barty as France defeated Australia 3-2 to win the 2019 Fed Cup in Perth.
The final came down to the last match, the doubles between France’s Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia and Australia’s Barty and Sam Stosur, with the visitors prevailing in straight sets, 6-4 6-3.
The triumph was France’s third overall Fed Cup and first since 2003, while Australia’s winless run extends to 45 years.
The key match-up was Sunday’s opening clash where Mladenovic, ranked 40th in the world, came from a set down to beat Barty.
Mladenovic triumphed 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in a major boilover to give France the chance to seal the cup in the fourth match.
However, Australia responded to level the tie through 51st ranked Croatia-born Ajla Tomljanovic.
In her first-ever match for her adopted country, Tomljanovic had been humbled by Mladenovic 6-1 6-1 on Saturday, but responded with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over France’s Pauline Parmentier on Sunday.
Barty had easily accounted for Garcia on Saturday 6-0 6-0, with the latter replaced by Parmentier for Sunday’s match.
However in the decisive doubles match-up, Mladenovic and Garcia teamed up to seal the victory for France.
“It’s lots of emotions with Caroline after we failed on the last step of the tie and today we just wanted to take this little revenge for ourselves and it’s not describable how we feel right now,” Mladenovic said.