Ash Barty will spearhead Australia's Fed Cup campaign.
Ash Barty will spearhead Australia's Fed Cup campaign. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

Ash backs Cup team to deliver

TENNIS: Ashleigh Barty insists Australia has the talent to overcome the loss of veteran Samantha Stosur for the Fed Cup tie against Ukraine this weekend.

Stosur, Australia's record holder for most singles wins in Fed Cup, is struggling to find her best form and will sit out the World Group II tie starting Saturday in Canberra.

The 2011 US Open champion battled a hand injury last year and missed two of the four Grand Slams, slipping to No.44 in the rankings after battling through the home summer.

Sam Stosur will miss the Fed Cup tie.
Sam Stosur will miss the Fed Cup tie. GLENN HUNT

Despite Stosur's absence, world No.16 Barty said the current group has what it takes to end a Fed Cup title drought for Australia dating back to 1974.

"I think the team we have got is very strong,” the Australian No.1 said.

"Destanee (Aiava) has had an amazing Australian summer and whether it is Sam (Stosur), Dash (Daria Gavrilova), myself, Case (Dellacqua), it doesn't matter who's in the team.

Daria Gavrilova is likely to play singles in Canberra.
Daria Gavrilova is likely to play singles in Canberra. DAN HIMBRECHTS

"We've got a really good foundation and team around us and we know that anyone on any given day can get the job done.”

Barty and Gavrilova, who is ranked No. 26 in the world, will be sure to get first crack at the singles action on Saturday.

Ukraine will be without Elina Svitolina after the world No.3 made herself unavailable but the visitors still pose a genuine threat with teenage star Marta Kostyuk to be joined by Lyudmyla Kichenok, Nadiia Kichenok and Dasha Lopatetskalikely.

Marta Kostyuk will line up for Ukraine.
Marta Kostyuk will line up for Ukraine. Dita Alangkara

"I haven't seen much of her (Kostyuk) play and we'll sit down for a bit of a look at tactics, but we've got an amazing team behind us that can give us everything we need,” Barty said.

"I think any time you can test yourself against one of the world's best players (Svitolina) it's what you want, but at the same time we're happy to play against whoever and we've got an opportunity here this weekend to do well and get back in contention for the world group.”

Ukraine stopped Australia from reaching the World Group last year with a convincing win in Kharkiv.


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