MELBOURNE, Australia - For the second time in as many matches, Ashleigh Barty rallied from a set down to keep her Australian Open campaign alive.
The Australian No.1 and No.18 seed defeated Sydney International runner-up Camila Giorgi, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in her second night session match on Rod Laver Arena of the fortnight on Thursday, moving into the third round in Melbourne for the second consecutive year.
"I'mpretty happy with it. In the end, to come away and sort of run away with that third set was really nice," Barty said after the match. "I knew it was going to be a tough match from the get-go, so I'm definitely happy to get through."
Much like in her first round match against Aryna Sabalenka, Barty was edged by a big-hitting opponent and found herself one set from being eliminated from the tournament on Rod Laver Arena.
"I wouldn't think a 6-7 and a 5-7 is starting slow, necessarily. I'm in both sets. I was up and had chances, just wasn't quite able to close it," the No.18 seed said after her penchant for three-setters. "I'm not concerned at all - still coming off with a win, which is the most important thing. It's nice coming back from a set down. You never like being a set down to begin with.
"It certainly gives you some nice satisfaction when you're able to come back, really stick it out, sort of hang around for the match."
The two players went with serve for the first six games of the match, with neither able to generate a chance at a break point under Giorgi moved ahead with a love break of Barty's delivery in the seventh game.
The Aussie No.1 kept her first set effort alive by breaking Giorgi as she served for the set in the 10th game, but nonetheless lost the last three games to fall behind in the second career meeting between the two players.
Serving first in the second set proved to be an advantage for the Aussie No.1, as she twice broke Giorgi and looked to tie the match at one set all.
Nonetheless, the World No.71 hit back each time after losing serve, connecting on another dozen winners off the ground in the second set, but was unable to stave off the World No.17 in the end.
Barty built a 0-40 lead in the 10th game thanks in part to an untimely double fault and backhand miss from Giorgi, and though the Italian rifled a pair of forehand winners to save two set points, she was unable to save a third as Barty sent the match to a decider in just over 90 minutes.
With momentum firmly on her side, Barty hardly looked back in the deciding set, building a 5-0 lead only to serve out the match emphatically, striking three of her 12 aces for the match in the final game.
In the round of 32, Barty will face another big-hitter in Japan's Naomi Osaka, who upset No.16 seed Elena Vesnina, 7-6(4), 6-2.
"It's very similar - another big hitter. Naomi is a great chick and can certainly give the ball a rip when she's got time," Barty assessed. "I think, for me, it's sort of not overly usual to have three matches very similar.
"I'm very excited to be in the third round again, put myself in a position where I can go deeper in the tournament."