Fed Cup: Marta Kostyuk shocks Daria Gavrilova to keep Ukraine in contention

An incredible upset was played out after 15-year-old youngster Marta Kostyuk stunned home favourite Daria Gavrilova to keep the Fed Cup World Group II tie between Australia and Ukraine tied at 1-1 after the first day of play.

Fed Cup: Marta Kostyuk shocks Daria Gavrilova to keep Ukraine in contention
Marta Kostyuk celebrates winning the biggest match of her career | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
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Marta Kostyuk (UKR)

Marta Kostyuk silenced the local crowd after rising up to the occasion to make a perfect start to her Fed Cup debut, ousting the world number 26 Daria Gavrilova to help Ukraine level the tie at 1-1 after the first day of play.

Coming into her first-ever Fed Cup tie, Kostyuk was given the underdog’s label especially after Ashleigh Barty gave Australia the lead earlier during the day with a win over Lyudmyla Kichenok. Being the 185th-ranked player, Kostyuk was the highest-ranked player for her team after her higher-ranked compatriots opted not to participate. Nonetheless, just when majority played down their chances, Kostyuk helped Ukraine get onto the scoreboard with a confidence-boosting straight-set victory after an hour and 28 minutes of play.

Marta Kostyuk was full of smiles after leveling the tie for Ukraine | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Marta Kostyuk was full of smiles after leveling the tie for Ukraine | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

Kostyuk stuns Gavrilova

With the tie being unusually played on grass in February, Gavrilova failed to find her footing on the fast courts as Kostyuk benefited from a slow start by the Australian, who threw in multiple double-faults in the opening game. Having made history by reaching the third-round at the Australian Open weeks ago, Kostyuk continued to ride on her momentum and extended her lead with some commanding play despite looking shaky on serve.

Both Gavrilova and Kostyuk were unable to remain solid on serve, and the end-product of their top-notch returning was seven consecutive breaks. Though, surprisingly it was a perfect tiebreak played by the 15-year-old youngster as she stole the first set 7-6 after 58 minutes of play.

Marta Kostyuk was dictating play well today | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Marta Kostyuk was dictating play well today | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

Kostyuk levels the tie

Gavrilova certainly felt the pressure of performing in front of her home crowd. Failing to find the rhythm on her groundstrokes, the Australian was also finding herself having to play catch-up as Kostyuk dictated play throughout the rallies. After nine breaks, the match finally had its first service hold which went in the Ukrainian’s way as she sent in a fantastic passing shot winner on game point.

Leading by a set and a break, Kostyuk looked on course to complete the huge upset when having a 4-1 advantage. Struggling to get going, Gavrilova was frustrated with herself and looked clueless on court several times. The world number 26 was ultimately defeated in straight sets, with Kostyuk claiming the pivotal win to level the scores.

Daria Gavrilova continued to fight even during the toughest moments | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Daria Gavrilova continued to fight even during the toughest moments | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

Match Stats: Serving woes for Gavrilova

Throughout the encounter, Gavrilova only managed to hold serve four times and won just a mere 60 percent of first-serve points. Furthermore, her second serves were a huge liability which saw her claiming just five points behind them, although Kostyuk was not much better in that aspect as well.

Defending dominant first-serves were the crucial stat of the match as Kostyuk took full advantage, hitting a total of 20 winners and 26 unforced errors to claim the biggest win of her career. Gavrilova ended the match with disappointing numbers, blasting just 10 winners to a massive 29 errors.

Marta Kostyuk will look to lead Ukraine in completing the upset now | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Marta Kostyuk will look to lead Ukraine in completing the upset now | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

The second day of play will start with both nations’ number one players battling for the win before Gavrilova will look to rebound from her loss and grab a point for Australia. Despite the score being at 1-1 currently, the home nation is still the favorite to close out the victory.