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Barty, Stosur spearhead Australia in Fed Cup final

Ashleigh Barty (Getty Images)
Ashleigh Barty (Getty Images)

Sydney - World No 1 Ashleigh Barty and veteran Samantha Stosur spearhead Australia's team announced on Monday for the Fed Cup final against France, as the country targets a first title since 1974.

Seven-time champions Australia powered into their first decider in 26 years by beating Belarus in April, while France booked their berth with victory over Romania.

The Western Australia capital Perth hosts the final on hardcourts on November 9-10.

Along with Barty and Stosur, Australian captain Alicia Molik handed a debut to Ajla Tomljanovic, who has spent most of 2019 inside the top 50, hitting a career-high of 39. She effectively replaces the injured Daria Gavrilova.

Young guns Astra Sharma and Priscilla Hon round out the team. France are yet to name their line-up.

"We have a lot of experience, and we'll go about our business the same way, not feeling like we need to change anything because it will be the spectacle of a final," said Molik.

"Hosting a Fed Cup final in your home country is a rare and precious opportunity," she added. "I know our team will not only embrace the challenge, but feed off the support of the fans."

Australia holds a 5-1 record over two-time Fed Cup champions France, although the French won the most recent tie between the two nations in 2000, when Molik was on the team.

Current French Open champion Barty and former US Open winner Stosur played both singles and doubles in their semi-final win, but Molik gave no indication on how she will deploy them against France.

Barty, though, will almost certainly play both singles and doubles again. She is unbeaten in Fed Cup play this year, winning all four of her singles matches plus two decisive doubles rubbers.

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