After Queenslander Ash Barty took the first rubber 6-1 7-6(2) over Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys leveled the tie with a 6-2 6-2 win over Gold Coast local Kimberly Birrell. 

World no.13 Barty took an early lead with a double break before Kenin tried to force her way back into the match with the home crowd rallying behind her. 

However, the 22-year-old takes in her stride when playing away from Australia.

"It's always a challenge in Fed Cup," Barty said.

"When you play away, it's a bit of a different ballgame, a different battle. I certainly enjoy it.

"Regardless of what was happening during the match, it was important for me to start well, try to set the tone early, put pressure on her straightaway."

The tie could be decided in the first rubber of the reverse singles when Barty takes on Keys before joining Daria Gavrilova for the doubles against Danielle Collins and Nicole Melichar.

It's an important matchup for Team Australia because it is the first time they have played in the Fed Cup world group since 2015.

"I think they're both going to really push and stretch each other," Australian Fed Cup Captain Alicia Molik said.

"We know Ash well for her differences in her game, the way she mixes it up."

The winner of the tie will move on to play Belarus or Germany in the Fed Cup semi-finals in April.


Monday 5am AEDT – Ash Barty (AUS) vs Madison Keys (USA)

Followed by Kimberly Birrell (AUS) vs Sofia Kenin (USA)

Followed by Ash Barty / Daria Gavrilova (AUS) vs Danielle Collins / Nicole Melichar (USA)