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France out to spoil Australia’s Fed Cup dream

Caroline Garcia also represented France in the 2016 event won by Australia.

“From the first time I stepped on the court (at RAC Arena) yesterday, I had such great memories and great vibes,” Mladenovic said on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely an advantage when you know the court and where you’ve won in the past.

Doubles winners Kristina Mladenovic (far left) and Timea Babos, with Australia's Ashleigh Barty in China.

Doubles winners Kristina Mladenovic (far left) and Timea Babos, with Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in China.Credit:Getty Images

“When you’ve won a tough competition somewhere it’s always a great place for you where you feel confident and you feel like you can repeat the story.”

Unlike the Australian team, France also boast Fed Cup finals experience.

Mladenovic, Cornet and Garcia all played in the 2016 decider in Strasbourg which France lost 3-2 to the Czech Republic.

“Even though the last one was at home, I still think it’s a big advantage to know how it feels to be up there with all the pressure,” Mladenovic said.

“I’m optimistic and positive about this aspect.”

Mladenovic had a close look at Barty during last week’s season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, where the world No.1 took out the singles title and the Frenchwoman partnered with Hungary’s Timea Babos to win the doubles.

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French captain Julien Benneteau is yet to reveal who he will select for the singles matches but it’s highly likely Mladenovic will lead the charge.

One of just 11 players to defeat Barty in singles in 2019, the world No.40 played down the victory on clay in Rome six months ago.

“It’s always a good thing to have a positive record but this weekend’s going to be completely different,” she said.

“It’s a Fed Cup final on a different surface, nothing similar. But we are all motivated to go and win it.”

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