ADELAIDE, Australia - World No.1 Ashleigh Barty scored her first singles win of 2020 at the inaugural Adelaide International after coming back from a set down against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 4-6, 6-3. 7-5.
“It's something I try and pride myself on is that no matter what the score is, I try and hang around for the whole match every time,” Barty told press afterward.
“Last year we did it really well, had a really good record of when I'd lost the first set, of coming back and trying to win those matches. Today was no different.
“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. Yeah, pretty happy to be able to turn that one around.”
Barty, the top seed at the new Premier event, came into the tournament after a surprise early exit in Brisbane, where she was stunned by Jennifer Brady in two close sets in her first match after a bye. She found more success in doubles, where she partnered with Kiki Bertens to reach the final. The Aussie donated all of her Brisbane prize money to the Australian Red Cross’ bushfire relief fund.
“The beauty of tennis is that there is always another opportunity the next week,” Barty said. “That's what the focus was after Brisbane is that we knew we had an opportunity here... to try and refine my game and try and problem-solve the best that I could.
“Those tough wins, those wins when you're not necessarily playing your best tennis I think always make you feel pretty good deep down, knowing that you can kind of scrap out of it and get out of it.”
After an aggressive, clean-hitting Pavlyuchenkova stormed to take the opening set, Barty stayed calm to edge back into the match. She looked fully in control for much of the deciding set, going up a double break and building a 5-2 lead, but this time it was Pavlyuchenkova storming back, leveling at 5-5. Barty struck a game later, breaking once more and sealing her first singles victory of 2020.
“Anastasia has the ability to take control away from you,” Barty explained. “She's very aggressive from her first strike and she's one of the cleanest ball strikers out there.
“I think in this matchup, we have played numerous times, I have to kind of bide my time and try and hang in there as best as I can when she's in control of the match and then when I can kind of wrestle that control back and try and be more assertive.”
With the victory, Barty improves her career head-to-head win-loss record against the Russian to 3-3.
Through to the quarterfinals, Barty awaits the winner between Arina Rodionova, an Aussie qualifier who upset Sloane Stephens earlier in the day, and No.8 seed Marketa Vondrousova, Barty's opponent in last year’s French Open final.