Australia to play Fed Cup semi against Belarus on Brisbane hardcourts

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) – Australia will play its Fed Cup semi-final against Belarus on the hardcourts of Brisbane in the first meeting between the two countries.

The Ashleigh Barty-led Australians booked their place in the last four with a 3-2 win over the United States (US) away in February, while Belarus thrashed Germany 4-0.

The April 20-21 clash between the two nations will take place at the Pat Rafter Arena, the venue for the annual Brisbane International. There had been some speculation that the tie could be played on clay ahead of the European clay season, but hardcourts have instead been picked.

“The whole team, led by Ash (Barty) worked hard for the win over the US and I can honestly say that winning the tie was one of the highlights of my career,” said Australia skipper Alicia Molik late Thursday.

“Belarus has a group of incredibly strong players and we expect them to be tough. But we also know we’ll have terrific support from the fans and look forward to a great turnout in Brisbane.”

Belarus is spearheaded by world number nine Aryna Sabalenka, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and 2018 Brisbane finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

They have reached the semis for the last three years, with their best result making the final in 2017.