Barty to face Garcia in Fed Cup final

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PERTH, Australia — World No. 1 Ash Barty will play Caroline Garcia of France in the Fed Cup final while Ajla Tomljanovic will make her debut for Australia playing the opening singles match Saturday against Kristina Mladenovic.

Barty will play Mladenovic in the first reverse singles on Sunday, followed by Tomljanovic taking on Garcia, although late changes can be made by the team captains. The final is being played on hard outdoor courts at Perth Arena.

The reverse singles will be followed by a potential deciding doubles match. Barty and Samantha Stosur will play doubles for Australia against Mladenovic and Garcia.

Both Barty, who won last weekend’s WTA Finals in China, and Stosur and Mladenovic/Garcia won three-set live fifth doubles matches in April’s semifinals to send their countries to the final. Australia beat Belarus in the semifinals and France defeated Romania.

Just before Friday’s draw, Australia team captain Alicia Molik chose No. 51-ranked Tomljanovic over Stosur as Australia’s second singles player behind Barty. Stosur won the 2011 U.S. Open and was once ranked No. 4 in singles, but has fallen to No. 96 and often doesn’t play well before home crowds.

Australia has played France six times in Fed Cup history and has a 5-1 edge, but lost when the teams last played in France in 2000.

It will be Australia’s first Fed Cup final since 1993. Australia last won the event, previously known as the Federation Cup, in Italy in 1974, with Evonne Goolagong, Dianne Fromholtz and Janet Young defeating the United States 2-1.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.