France are one win away from claiming the Fed Cup title after Kristina Mladenovic broke their Australian hearts with a stunning 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) victory over world number 1 Ashley Bart in Perth.
The winner of the 15-match Bundesliga Federal Cup came to a standstill after Mladenovic put the comic book on a lion's heart to prevail for two hours and 31 minutes and put France 2-1 in the finals final.
The loss means Australia's Ayla Tomjanovic has to beat Pauline Parmentier in the second match in a singles encounter to force a pair decision. France has decided to bring the world No.122 Parmentier in exchange for Carolyn Garcia, who Burtie beat 6-0 6-0 in Saturday's tire. Mladenovic struggled with words and tears after announcing the biggest magazine of her career.
"It's hard to talk to," the Frenchwoman said.
"We continued to fight every point. This is the way I want to play tennis … I just believed it. "
Barty entered Sunday's game at the RAC Arena as a hot favorite after defeating Garcia the day before.
But the world no. Mladenovic, 40, proved too good again, upset at being ready to consolidate his defeat to Barty on clay in Rome six months ago. In a swing-swinging game, Barty drove a wave of support from the crowd close to capacity to climb to 6-5 in the third set.
But the equally determined Mladenovic served to love and did not blink during a ruthless timer.
Barthie will be left to complain about an uncharacteristic road performance in which she made 47 non-violent mistakes.
The French Open champion came out with an ass-kick to play the first game, then broke Mladenovic's serve before delivering the first set in 33 minutes.
But French No.1, which overcame Tomjanovic 6-1 6-1 on Saturday, forced him back into the match and consolidated the epic epic in a 66-minute deciding set.
Earlier today, Barty said he had learned a lot about his French opponent from a 6-2 6-3 clay defeat six months ago in Rome.
"I played her in Rome earlier this year, I know she has weapons so she can make me uncomfortable," Barty said.
"So, they should try to get them out of the way as much as possible and get them back in my pace of competition.
"I feel like I've changed and developed as a person and player since that match in Rome.
"I'm really looking forward to trying tomorrow and turning the tide a little bit."
FIGURES / RESULTS
Kristina Mladenovic defeated Ayla Tomjanovic: 6-1 6-1
Ash Barty beat Carolyn Garcia: 6-0 6-0
Kristina Mladenovic defeated Ash Barty: 2-6 6-4 7-6
Ayla Tomjanovic v. Carolina Garcia
Ash Barty / Sam Stosur vs. Carolyn Garcia / Kristina Mladenovic
– with AAP