Australia's women tennis players suffered a shock loss to Ukraine on Sunday to be dumped from the elite Fed Cup World Group. Ukraine won the play-off tie 3-2 to send Australia back to the lower tier World Group II.
Scores were level after the two reverse singles rubbers on Sunday, with Ukraine taking the crucial doubles rubber in three sets on a clay court in Melbourne. World number 30 Jarmila Groth gave Australia a 2-1 edge on the final day with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Lesia Tsurenko. However, Ukraine's Olga Savchuk levelled the tie when she beat Anastasia Rodionova 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (14-12).
In the doubles, Australia got off to a flying start, winning the first set 6-0 before Ukraine battled back to win the match and the tie with a 0-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 victory.
Despite the decision of world number six Sam Stosur to skip the tie to prepare for the French Open, Australia was confident of winning and captain David Taylor said his team was devastated to be sent reeling out of the World Group by just one point.
"I guess we'd hoped to win it in the singles and we realistically didn't think it would come down to the doubles," Taylor said.