Australian Open: Barty begins title bid with convincing victory

By Sports Desk January 17, 2022

World number one Ash Barty kicked off her Australian Open title bid with a convincing straight-sets victory over Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.

The two-time grand slam winner, whose previous best finish on home soil at Melbourne Park was a run to the semi-finals in 2020, prevailed 6-0 6-1 in a time of just 54 minutes.

Barty held serve throughout the one-sided contest with Tsurenko and is now unbroken in 41 successive service games across her last four matches.

"It's certainly nice to be back on home soil and playing as well as I did tonight. It was a lot of fun out here," Barty said in her on-court interview.

"I felt like it was nice and clean. End-to-end I did a good job in adjusting. Tonight it was just nice and solid to get out here and play a decent match and feel like I enjoyed it."

Tsurenko took Barty to three sets when they met in this competition two years ago, but the world number 113 was outclassed on this occasion.

Looking to build on her recent Adelaide International success, Barty eased through the first set as she dropped just 12 points.

Barty was just as dominant in the second set, but she squandered two match points in the sixth game to miss out on a double-bagel to begin her campaign in Melbourne.

Not that it mattered a great deal, though, as the 25-year-old emphatically served out the match to set up a meeting with Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti for a place in round three.

 

DATA SLAM: Barty makes statement start

Barty came through this first-round match with minimal stress and looks in great shape as she bids to become the first Australian to win here since 1978.

The pressure is no doubt on as the pre-tournament favourite, with no top-seeded player in the women's draw failing to make at least round four since Virginia Ruzici in 1979.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Barty – 14/17
Tsurenko – 4/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Barty – 5/0
Tsurenko – 0/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Barty – 5/8
Tsurenko – 0/2

Related items

  • Murray's likely French Open swansong ended by wonderful Wawrinka Murray's likely French Open swansong ended by wonderful Wawrinka

    Andy Murray bowed out in the opening round of what is likely to be his final French Open appearance, following a straight-sets defeat by Stan Wawrinka.

    The Swiss ran out a commanding 6-4 6-4 6-2 victor in two hours and 19 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, and could play Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie in round two.

    Murray was facing Wawrinka for a third successive match at Roland Garros, having lost out to the latter in the 2020 first round and 2017 semi-finals.

    The 2015 champion stole an early advantage this time around, too, breaking in the opening game and subsequently holding to win the first set.

    A single break was also enough in the second set as Wawrinka doubled his lead.

    Murray has repeatedly said he is approaching the end of his career, revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

    However, the 2016 runner-up's chances of extending what is potentially his French Open swansong were all but ended as Wawrinka broke twice in the third set for a 4-0 lead, before the 39-year-old rounded off a dominant win.

    Data Debrief

    Wawrinka (39) and Murray (37) locked horns in the second-oldest match-up at Roland Garros this century, behind the 2019 first-round showdown between Ivo Karlovic (40) and Feliciano Lopez (37).

    And the Swiss was not to be denied, as he became the oldest man to win a match at the French Open since compatriot Roger Federer three years ago.

  • 'It would be an honour to play Swiatek', Osaka admits ahead of potential French Open clash 'It would be an honour to play Swiatek', Osaka admits ahead of potential French Open clash

    Naomi Osaka admits it would be "a very big honour" to play Iga Swiatek at the French Open, ahead of a potential second-round showdown at Roland Garros.

    After a 15-month maternity break, the four-time major winner marked her return to the French capital with a hard-earned three-set victory over Lucia Bronzetti in the opening round.

    That potentially sets up a meeting with Swiatek in round two, should the reigning champion overcome Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

    And Osaka is thrilled by the prospect of facing the world number one, who has lifted Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three times in the past four years. 

    "I'm really excited," she told reporters during her post-match press conference. 

    "I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. I think it's an honour to play her in the French Open, because she's won more than once here. It's a very big honour and challenge for me."

    After beating Bronzetti 6-1 4-6 7-5, Osaka (75.3 per cent, 58-19) now only trails Swiatek (81.4 per cent, 70-16) among active players, for the highest winning percentage in women’s singles matches at major events.

    The Japanese was made to work hard for her victory. After a dominant opening set, Osaka was taken to a decider, in which she was pegged back from 4-0 up, but eventually got over the line.

    "The match really was like a rollercoaster," she added. "I felt like I was extremely focused in the first set, and maybe I let it go a bit.

    "I came back in the third, but then I let it go a bit, and I just got really tight from there. I'm really glad I was able to regroup and win."

  • Djokovic wants to 'lower expectations' after tough start to season Djokovic wants to 'lower expectations' after tough start to season

    Novak Djokovic admits he needs to "lower the expectations" as he prepares to defend his French Open title.

    The Serbian has failed to reach a final so far in 2024, having fallen at the semi-final hurdle in Australia, Monte-Carlo, and most recently Geneva with a defeat to Tomas Machac.

    Djokovic also suffered shock defeats to Alejandro Tabilo in Rome and world number 123 Luca Nardi at Indian Wells in the round of 32.

    Despite questions surrounding his recent form, the 24-time Grand Slam winner is looking to draw on his vast experience to end his trophy drought this season.

    "I would say that I know what I'm capable of, and particularly in the Grand Slams I normally play the best tennis, at least I aim always to play the best tennis, and I was most of my career able to do that, so that's the goal," said Djokovic on his arrival in France.

    "I have been saying, you know, for quite a while that in terms of clay, I want to peak here in Paris, in Roland Garros. Last year I had an amazing year, and particularly here in Roland Garros, and hopefully, I can have a great tournament.

    "My hopes and goals are always the same, but I have to lower the expectations. When I say that I mean, you know, maybe not thinking too much ahead in advance in terms of the tournament and who I might face in the later rounds, but really taking it day by day, step by step, and really building my game.

    "Because that's what I have really been struggling with, not really playing in a consistently good level."

    Djokovic will play French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round on Tuesday. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.