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Stosur guides Australia to Fed Cup victory

Sam Stosur had led Australia to an impressive 3-2 win over Slovakia in the Fed Cup to book a place in the World Group play-offs.

The former US Open champ claimed both of her singles rubbers and combined with compatriot Casey Dellacqua to clinch the decisive doubles tie in the World Group II match up over the weekend.

The Aussies came from a set down on the indoor hard court in Bratislava to beat Jana Cepelova and Daniela Hantuchova 5-7 6-1 6-2, sealing a memorable overall result.

Stosur had earlier claimed singles wins over Jana Cepelova and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in straight sets to put Australia ahead.

However Arina Rodionova and Kimberly Birrell both lost their respective matches to leave the tie all square heading into the doubles.

It all came down to the final set with the Stosur and Dellacqua both holding their nerve on serve after the set began with five consecutive breaks.

First Stosur held serve to give the visitors a 4-2 lead and Dellacqua served it out as the duo rattled off the last four games to earn a shot at returning to the World Group.

Australia suffered two 4-1 defeats in the Fed Cup last year, losing to Germany in the World Group first round before falling to Netherlands in the World Group play-offs.

This year’s play-offs to return to the top tier of the women’s teams event will take place in April, with Australia’s opponents to be decided next week.

In more good news for Australia’s top women’s tennis players, Ash Barty has decided to return to the sport having spent some time away to pursue a cricket career.

The 19-year-old had been playing for the Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League but has quit to focus on making it back onto the WTA Tour.

She is playing doubles in a $25,000 ITF Challenger tournament this week in Perth with Jessica Moore, having trained with the Heat team in Brisbane as recently as last Friday.

“Tennis was just what I’m probably meant to be doing in life,” Barty told the WTA website last month as she prepared to make a comeback.

“I’m taking it slowly in the beginning. There’s no point in jumping back on tour and realising six months later that this is not what I want.

“It (2015) was the right time to step away and just refresh.”

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