Both teams don't have a lot of experience with each other, which was evident - especially with the Aussies - but all four are very good doubles players.
Freaking amazing to watch how much better she's becoming with time. She has all the shots, great movement, fantastic intelligence and confidence is growing too. It's not coincidence that Australia is back in the Fed Cup final when she's playing. She is just beautiful to watch and performing so well under pressure.
To say she's a shadow of her former self would be an insult to her former self - she's much worse than that. But there are flashes of brilliance in doubles, as evidenced by her AO title, Miami final and this match. While she was a liability in much of this match, she had some great reflex volleys on big points that made a huge impact. She also stepped it up like crazy in the third set under pressure. She finished on a high note for sure.
She's putting it together. Unfortunately, her serve is a huge liability (at one point she had lost 7 points in a row on serve). HOWEVER, I do think that Sabalenka's poor form at net really fd her up on serve more than necessary. I am impressed by what I saw this tie and in Monterrey. The trademark determination is there. The ridiculously amazing counterpunching is there. She was awesome vs. Sam and challenged an in-form Barty pretty well for a set, which is tough these days. I think she might get back to the top 10 this year.
The weakest link in doubles for sure. Most of the match was Vika vs. Ash with occasional highlights from Aryna and Sam, but at least Sam picked it up at the end. Aryna just got worse and worse at the net. She was appalling. Sam and Ash targeted her and wore her down. She should've just stayed back on Vika's serve. Clueless at best. It amazes me that she's doing so well with Mertens, who isn't exactly a big server. I guess they have some kind of better chemistry.
As mentioned, the doubles match was basically a mini version of the tie - Vika vs. Ash. Both did very well. I didn't expect Aryna to flop in doubles this badly, nor did I expect Sam to save the day at the end, but hey.
A great tie and super amazing result for the Aussies
Stosur - Venus - Hingis - Diyas - Jankovic - Niculescu - Barty - Sabalenka
Gavrilova - Wozniacki - Kvitova - Zvonareva - Osaka - CSN - Sevastova
Aga - Cibulkova - Lisicki - Bencic - Cornet - Halep - Mladenovic - Davenport - Ostapenko
Some level of love/fascination for Ivanovic, Giorgi, Azarenka, Sharapova, Makarova, Kuznetsova