MELBOURNE, Australia - No.15 seed Ashleigh Barty booked her spot into the Australian Open third round after a straight sets win over China’s Wang Yafan.
Barty needed just 65 minutes to record four breaks over Wang and claim the 6-2, 6-3 victory, moving into the Australian Open third round for the third year in a row.
“I feel great, I’ve had an amazing start to the year and it’s kind of flowed on from late last year,” Barty told fans in her on court interview. “When I’m playing well, I’m just enjoying myself out on court - that’s all I can ask for from every match.”
Barty arrived in Melbourne flying high after a run to the championship match at the Sydney International last week - her second consecutive Sydney final. She carried the momentum seamlessly in her Australian Open debut, which saw her dismiss Luksika Kumkhum in 57 minutes.
Her all-court game was firing on all cylinders against Wang, with Barty racking up 29 winners - offset by 19 unforced errors - and winning 11 of 12 points at the net across both sets. Barty’s serve was also a big weapon: she struck seven aces and won 82% of points behind her first serve.
Barty kept Wang in check in the first set, applying the pressure on her Chinese opponent and earning an early 3-1 break as a reward. Wang couldn’t seem to find the answers against the Aussie - she wasn’t able to create any break opportunities against Barty’s strong serve - and she surrendered another break at 6-2 to hand Barty the set.
The Aussie looked to continue in that same pattern in the second set, creating a quick break chance in Wang’s first service game. But this time Wang held firm, turning the tables to grab her first break of the match and go up 3-1.
But Wang’s joy was short-lived, and Barty responded emphatically - she turned around the break deficit to level the score at 3-3, and proceeded to win the last five games in a row to close out the set - and the match - after just 65 minutes.
In the third round, Barty will meet Maria Sakkari of Greece, who triumphed in straight sets over Australian qualifier Astra Sharma 6-1, 6-4 later in the day.
“Maria I'm great friends with and have a really great relationship,” Barty said. “We have played a couple times now. She's one of the best movers and competitors out there… My next singles match will be very tough.”