France claimed its first Fed Cup title in 16 years with a 3-2 victory over host Australia on Sunday.
Edged out 2-3 on home soil by the Czech Republic in the 2016 decider, Mladenovic and Garcia were resolved to avoid a repeat of that heartbreak, and they played fearlessly on the blue hard court.
Mladenovic was key to France’s triumph. She was unbeaten in her three rubbers, having come back from a set down to stun World No.1 Barty in the reverse singles earlier in the day.
Paired with the French No.1, Garcia put her 0-6, 0-6 humiliation by Barty in the Saturday singles behind her and proved a menace for Australia throughout the doubles decider. She and Mladenovic rallied from an early break down in the first set and saved a slew of break points in the second.
Australia saved two championship points at 2-5 in the second set, but Mladenovic capped her superb weekend by serving out the match. The host had been chasing its eighth Fed Cup title and first in 45 years but has now lost its last nine finals in the event, including six in succession.
Earlier, Mladenovic, who thrashed Fed Cup debutant Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 6-1 on Saturday, struck a hammer blow for Australia’s chances when she toppled the in-form Barty 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). A month after becoming eligible to represent Australia, Croatia-born Tomljanovic rewarded captain Alicia Molik’s faith with a gutsy 6-4, 7-5 win over Pauline Parmentier to level the tie at 2-2.