Daria Gavrilova vs Marta Kostyuk, Fed Cup Preview

Fed Cup WG 2: Australia vs Ukraine, Rubber 2
?? Daria Gavrilova vs ?? Marta Kostyuk

Saturday’s second rubber in the Fed Cup world group 2 tie between Australia and Ukraine promises to be the most important rubber of the entire tie. Ash Barty is expected to comfortably get past Lyudmyla in the opening rubber to give Australia a 1-0 lead in Canberra. Marta Kostyuk is clearly Ukraine’s most dangerous player in their squad, Kostyuk has had a great Australian summer and can make this tie interesting with an upset win over Gavrilova.

Daria Gavrilova had a reasonable Australian summer. The 23-year-old reached the semi-finals at the Sydney International before falling at the second round stage at Melbourne Park to eventual semi-finalist Elise Mertens. Gavrilova has shown commitment to the Australian Fed Cup team over the last few years but has not had the best results in this format, a 2/3 win/loss record in singles Fed Cup matches.

Marta Kostyuk will be making her Fed Cup debut. As the highest ranked player for Ukraine in Canberra, there is a lot of pressure on the 15-year-old to give a good account of herself. Kostyuk is on a high right now. Kostyuk is at a career high ranking of 185 after winning the ITF Burnie 60K title last week which followed her impressive run to the third round at the Australian Open in January. Kostyuk is the youngest player ranked inside the top 200 in almost 10 years.

This will be the first career meeting between Gavrilova and Kostyuk.

Ashleigh Barty vs Lyudmyla Kichenok, Fed Cup Preview

Fed Cup WG 2: Australia vs Ukraine, Rubber 1
?? Ashleigh Barty vs ?? Lyudmyla Kichenok

Ashleigh Barty and Lyudmyla Kichenok will go head-to-head in the opening rubber of the world group 2 tie between Australia and Ukraine on Saturday. The tie will be held on a purpose built grass court in Canberra. On paper this is a gigantic mismatch, world number 16 up against world number 883. Barty will be keen to make a statement in the opening rubber to set the tone for tie in Canberra. Interestingly, this will be the first tennis at the highest level played on grass in 2018.

Ash Barty spearheads Australia’s quest to return to World Group 1. Barty had a good Australian summer, reaching the final at the Sydney International and the third round at the Australian Open. Barty and the rest of the Australian team have been practising on the purpose built grass court in Canberra for about a week. Barty is extremely comfortable on a grass court, Barty won the junior title at Wimbledon and last year reached the final on grass in Birmingham.

Lyudmyla Kichenok has not played a competitive singles match in over 5 months. Instead, the 25-year-old has been focused on her doubles career where she has a decent ranking of 45 in the world. Kichenok’s doubles results during the Aussie summer were poor. Kichenok has a small amount of fed Cup experience having played in 5 ties. The last time Kichenok played a Fed Cup singles rubber was back in 2014.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2014, Barty won 6-3 7-5 in the final round of the qualifying draw.