Ash Barty has revealed her greatest weapon to end Australia’s 42-year wait for a women’s singles champion in Melbourne after a stunning comeback win.
Ash Barty has revealed her greatest weapon to end Australia’s 42-year wait for a women’s singles champion in Melbourne after a stunning comeback win.

‘It’s just chaos’: Barty’s bedlam

Ash Barty says she feels better prepared to handle the pressure and focus on her campaign to snap Australia's 42-year wait for a women's singles champion, despite admitting her Australian Open campaign has been "chaos".

The world No. 1 bounced back from a horror start to win her first round match against Ukranian Lesia Tsurenko 5-7 6-1 6-1.

The 2019 French Open champion is attempting to become the first Australian woman to win the Australian Open singles title since Chris O'Neill in 1978.

When asked if she felt relieved to survive the early scare, Barty said her team has learned lessons from every grand slam that challenged her.

Ash Barty managed ten aces in her round one victory.
Ash Barty managed ten aces in her round one victory.

"Slams always feels like there's a lot of chaos going on because there's so many people," she said.

"It's busy with singles and doubles and mixed players, coaches and families. It's just chaos.

"When you're able to separate that when you step on the court … I feel like we've been able to do that a little bit better with each slam we've played.

"We're just going along for the ride and trying to play some good tennis."

Barty was far from her best in the opening set at Rod Laver Arena, Tsurenko capitalising on the struggling Australian, who was broken three times and hit 18 unforced errors in the opening set.

A completely different Barty was on display in the second set, bouncing back to comprehensively even the scores, twice breaking Tsurenko's serve. The second set lasted 26 minutes, with Barty only making five unforced errors.

The 23-year-old completed the comeback by winning the decisive set 6-1. Barty hit ten aces and 25 winners in the match, winning 78% of her first serve points.

"It's amazing to be back out here. Obviously it is a tight turn around from Adelaide, but really nice to kind of sort it out a little bit more and at the start of the second set," Barty said after the match.

"I sharpened up and did what I needed to do.

"This is probably the moment I have been looking forward to the most through the off-season. I couldn't wait to walk out here on this beautiful court in front of so many people that give me such love and support.

"Thank you - it is incredible, so thank you, guys."

Tsurenko, who sits at No. 120 in the WTA rankings, had defeated Barty the last time they faced each, in Brisbane in 2018.

Barty's Australian Open campaign faced an early obstacle, intense rain causing a leak in the stadium's roof falling onto the court.

Water landed directly next the the large "Melbourne" letters, near where players receive serve. A ball kid has had to run on and wipe away the rainwater every couple of points.

The heavy Melbourne rain meant 18 Australian Open matches were cancelled and will not be played until Day Two on Tuesday.

Barty thought she rushed the opening set, which lead to the multitude of unforced errors.

"I think in the first set it was still in my control. It was just a little bit of execution. I was just rushing a little bit, trying to finish off points too early," Barty said.

"Once I was able to get my physicality into it, I felt a lot more comfortable."

The Australian tennis star progresses through to the second round, where she will face either Slovenian World No. 48 Polona Hercog or Swedish World No. 44 Rebecca Peterson.


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