Fed Cup: Ashleigh Barty to face Caroline Garcia in singles rubbers

Fed Cup: Ashleigh Barty to face Caroline Garcia in singles rubbers

While Tomljanovic is Australia's second-highest ranked female, her selection is still something of a gamble given Stosur boasts the most singles wins for Australia in Fed Cup history.

In selecting the 26-year-old Tomljanovic, Australia captain Alicia Molik may also have been mindful of Stosur's record of stage-fright when playing in front of home crowds.

World number 51 Tomljanovic, who was cleared to play for Australia in October despite having previously represented Croatia, has been preferred for the singles rubbers over Sam Stosur. "I've got someone sitting next to me right here [Sam Stosur] who has done that for so many years and has been at the very top of our sport".

Drawn to face Caroline Garcia in the second singles match on Saturday, with Tomljanovic to take on France's first singles player Kristina Mladenovic, Barty will then face Mladenovic in the reverse singles on Sunday and will partner Stosur in the doubles if the tie has yet to be decided. "For us it was a matter of match-ups and I feel like we are going in with our strongest two players for Saturday", said Molik. They've been here for me this whole week in practice. It has been hard, sets have been very close and that's really the way that we want it. "It should be a tough decision".

Seven-time champions Australia have not tasted success in the tournament since 1974, while France are aiming for a third crown and first since 2003.

"It's just incredible to be part of another fantastic team and be in a final, this is what we've all been trying to achieve for a really long time", Stosur said following the Fed Cup draw on Friday.

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The Fed Cup final's official dinner took place on Thursday with both teams stepping out in matching, and nearly matching, looks.

"Caro's a great friend of mine and I know that we both play our best tennis during Fed Cup week so I think tomorrow's match is going to be of a really high quality", Barty said.

The final is being played on hard outdoor courts at Perth Arena.

While it is Australia's first final since 1993, France made the decider three years ago, losing 3-2 to the Czech Republic.

They say TA always intended marking the occasion and this should have been obvious to Court when they sent a film crew to Perth to interview her earlier this year. "We have nothing to lose. We have to go for it from the first match to the last one".

The finale marks the last Fed Cup played under the current format, with an overhaul next year seeing 12 nations compete in a six-day event in Budapest.

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