Barty strug­gles to book a place in quar­ter­fi­nals

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Ade­laide, Aus­tralia - World No 1 Ashleigh Barty sur­vived a scare Tues­day be­fore bat­tling through her open­ing match at the Ade­laide In­ter­na­tional to beat Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkov­a in three tough sets.

The top seed, who had a bye in the first round at Me­mo­rial Drive, faced a strug­gle to get past her ex­pe­ri­enced Rus­sian op­po­nent 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and book a place in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The Aus­tralian was joined in the last eight by sec­ond seed Si­mona Halep, who made her 2020 com­pet­i­tive de­but with a 6-4, 7-5 de­feat of Ajla

Toml­janovic. Halep is back with Ade­laide coach Dar­ren Cahill af­ter his fam­ily leave dur­ing 2019, and the Ro­ma­nian said get­ting through the open­ing match of the sea­son is an an­nual chal­lenge.

"It was a tough match but I ex­pected that, since I've played her twice be­fore. I'm very happy to go through. Train­ing can­not com­pare with ac­tu­ally play­ing.

"I got a bit tired in the sec­ond set and I'll have to keep up my level for the next match."

Barty said she got com­fort­able as she scored her first sea­son win af­ter los­ing her open­ing match last week in Bris­bane.

The 23 year old is look­ing for cru­cial court time be­fore the Aus­tralian Open starts next Mon­day in Mel­bourne.

"I was able to play, my style and con­trol a bit more in the third set," the Aus­tralian said.

"No mat­ter what the score is, I try and hang around for the whole match ev­ery time.

"I felt like I was do­ing the right things. I just needed to hang in there and wait for an op­por­tu­nity to come and then try and grab it.

"I'm pretty happy to be able to turn that one around."

The Aus­tralian, who won the French Open last year, said she was tak­ing noth­ing for granted while hold­ing the top WTA rank­ing.

"It's been an in­cred­i­ble jour­ney for me and my team," she said.

"It was a whirl­wind year, but I'm back com­pet­ing and do­ing what I love."

Stephens crashes against qual­i­fier

Former US Open cham­pion Sloane Stephens didn't fare as well, crash­ing 2-6, 2-6 to 201st-ranked Aus­tralian qual­i­fier Arina Ro­di­onova.

The Amer­i­can, whose last match was a sec­ond-round ouster in Bei­jing on Oc­to­ber 1, ex­ited in 72 min­utes, drop­ping serve four times.

Else­where, Maria Sakkari of Greece made quick work of Vi­talia Di­atchenko of Rus­sia 7-5, 6-2.

Last year's French Open fi­nal­ist, Czech Mar­keta Von­drosova, played her first match since pick­ing up an arm in­jury at last year's Wim­ble­don, de­feat­ing Tatiana Maria in Ade­laide 6-3, 6-0.

Ger­man Ju­lia Go­erges will line up for a quar­ter­fi­nal place fourth seed Belinda Ben­cic af­ter de­feat­ing Aus­tralian wild card Priscilla Hon 7-6 (9-7), 6-3.

In the men's draw, Bri­tain's Dan Evans reached the quar­ter­fi­nals with a 7-5, 6-2 de­feat of Alexan­der Bub­lik. Amer­i­can qual­i­fier Tommy Paul beat Al­jaz Be­dene 6-4, 6-4.

Aus­tralian Jor­dan Thomp­son was put out 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 in the first round by Spa­niard Al­bert Ramos-Vi­no­las.

(AFP)

Ashleigh Barty hits a re­turn against Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkov­a dur­ing their match in Ade­laide on Tues­day

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