Sam back for Australia’s Fed Cup semifinal
BRISBANE, AAP – Sam Stosur will return to the Fed Cup fray for Australia in their semifinal against Belarus in Brisbane.
Stosur withdrew from consideration last year as she struggled for form and fitness but captain Alicia Molik has called on the Grand Slam champion as Australia chase their first title since 1974.
Queensland world No.9 Ash Barty will lead the side, which also features Daria Gavrilova and Priscilla Hon, for the 20-21 April showdown.
Australia is aiming to book its first Fed Cup finals appearance since 1993.
Ranked No.73 in singles and 17th in doubles, Stosur found some form at last month’s Miami Open in both disciplines and, as the country’s most successful Fed Cup performer, will provide tremendous experience in Brisbane.
Molik hinted Stosur would be deployed in the doubles on the back of her Australian Open title and Miami Open finals appearance this year.
“It’s exciting to welcome Sam back into the team, she has a really strong Fed Cup record and her recent doubles results are unparalleled,” Molik said.
“Reaching a Fed Cup semifinal is an amazing feeling not only for me as a captain, but the team and Australia. I know (the players) are all incredibly proud to represent their country and will give it their all.”
Belarus pack a punch with former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, No.10 Aryna Sabalenka and No.35 Aliaksandra Sasnovich at their disposal.
Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, has struggled with her form since returning to the tour after giving birth to son Leo.
But the 29-year-old – Barty’s most recent doubles partner on tour – has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts, including a lead role in a 4-0 quarter-final defeat of Germany.
France will host Romania on clay in the Normandy city of Rouen the other semifinal.