Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty claimed the biggest scalp of her fledgling career with a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the Hopman Cup on Thursday night.
Barty's win, achieved in just 55 minutes, gave Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead over Italy after Bernard Tomic beat world number 23 Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-5 in the men's singles rubber.
Although the pair went down to Italy in the mixed doubles in a match tie-break, Australia will reach Saturday night's final if Germany upset Serbia's top-seeded pairing of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic on Friday.
Barty was only playing at the mixed-teams tournament after Casey Dellacqua was forced to pull out with a foot injury.
The 16-year-old lost to Ivanovic in straight sets on Wednesday night, but came out with all guns blazing against world number 35 Schiavone, who couldn't keep pace in the opening set.
Schiavone committed 10 unforced errors in the first set, with two of her double faults handing Barty crucial breaks.
The 32-year-old veteran won the first two games of the second set but, from there, Barty took control to break Schiavone three times to secure the win.
"I can't believe it myself, I don't remember anything about it," Barty said.
"This tops Wimbledon, this trumps everything. I'm just so happy with the way I played."
Tomic, who stunned world number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday night after accounting for German Tommy Haas earlier in the tournament, had too many weapons for Seppi, unleashing some blistering winners during big points.
"I think I played really well against Novak yesterday and today was really good as well," Tomic said.
"It's amazing preparation before the Australian Open and I'm really glad I came.
"The last few months were very hard. I was focusing a lot on my fitness and my serve. You need to serve well when you play against these top players."
Tomic had to save three break points on his first service game.
But from there, the 20-year-old took control of the match, breaking Seppi in the fourth game on the way to first-set honours.
Seppi and Tomic went toe-to-toe for much of the second set.
But a double fault from Seppi on break point in the 11th game ended the Italian's resistance, with Tomic easily serving out the match.
Australia lost their mixed doubles match against Italy 2-6, 6-4 [10-3].
AAPTags: sport, tennis, perth-6000, australia First posted January 03, 2013 22:20:06