Ashleigh Barty of Australia
Ashleigh Barty of Australia LUKAS COCH

Aussie girls feel the heat in chilly Ukraine

TENNIS: Australia is in danger of being left out in the cold.

The country's hopes of returning to the top tier of women's tennis are looking slim after Alicia Molik's team lost the opening singles rubbers of their Fed Cup World Group II tie against Ukraine in a freezing Kharkiv.

Ashleigh Barty took the first set against world No.13 Evina Svitolina before Svitolina turned the tables to win the match 4-6 6-1 6-2.

Daria Gavrilova was defeated in straight sets by Lesia Tsurenko, who kept her perfect record against Gavrilova intact with a 6-2 6-3 win.

Gavrilova will face long-time friend Svitolina in the opening rubber on day two before Barty and Tsurenko do battle ahead of the potentially decisive doubles clash.

Barty raced through her first service game in the second set after taking the first, but from then on it was all Svitolina as the Taiwan Open champion won 11 successive games to take the set in 24 minutes and go 5-0 up in the third.

"I'm unhappy with the result but I did the best I could today," Barty said.

"You have to go out there with the true belief that you're going to win. If you ask anyone they'll always say 'yeah I think I can win' but you have to truly believe it.

"My serve is one of my main weapons and I think it let me down a little bit today. But I'm certainly not discouraged and we'll give it a red-hot crack tomorrow."

News Corp Australia

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