Ash Barty makes tennis history with 'brutal' Australian Open act

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Ash Barty and Danka Kovinic, pictured here in action at the Australian Open.
Ash Barty steamrolled Danka Kovinic 6-0, 6-0 at the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Ash Barty has become the first Aussie player to win a match at the Australian Open without dropping a game since the event moved to Melbourne Park in 1988.

The World No.1 needed just 44 minutes to dispose of World No.82 Danka Kovinic 6-0 6-0 on Tuesday night in a devastating display that sent officials scrambling for the record books.

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The incredible “double bagel” marked the first time a local player had won at the Australian Open without conceding a single game since Wendy Turnbull in 1985.

Turnbull achieved the feat in back-to-back matches, beating Susan Leo in the first round 6-0 6-0 and Liz Smylie in the second with the same scoreline.

However Barty’s feat is the first in Melbourne Park’s 33-year history, the event moving to its current location three years after Turnbull’s heroics.

It also marked just the eighth time in the Open era that a No.1 women’s seed has scored a double bagel in the opening round of a slam, and only the second at the Australian Open.

Dinara Safina last achieved that feat at the French Open in 2009, while Justin Henin last did it at the Australian Open in 2004.

In an incredible omen for Barty, the seven other instances have seen the double-bageler either win the event or at least make the final.

Ash Barty eyeing Australian Open glory

Barty last year became the first Australian woman since Turnbull in 1984 to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

But she will will be aiming to go all the way this month, and her first-up display is sure to put her rivals on notice.

In a remarkable start to the match at Rod Laver Arena, Barty won the first 16 points on the way to winning the first set in just 18 minutes.

The second set was just as brutal, with the result setting up a second-round clash with either fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova.

It was hard not to feel sorry for Kovinic, who spent 20,160 minutes in hotel quarantine only for her Australian Open hopes to be dashed in a mere 44 minutes.

Ash Barty and Danka Kovinic, pictured here after their Australian Open clash.
Ash Barty and Danka Kovinic touch racquets after their Australian Open clash. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

She won just 10 points for the entire match, committing 28 unforced errors along the way.

Barty could do little wrong in a first-set romp.

Kovinic didn’t win her first point until the fifth game and she won just four points for the entire first set.

Kovinic threatened on a couple of occasions to get on the board, but Barty’s class shone through each time to deny her.

The first-up showing was a remarkable performance from Barty, who had been off the tennis tour for 11 months before returning for last week's Australian Open warm-up event.

Barty’s last double bagel performance came during the Fed Cup final against France in 2019, when she beat Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-0.

The 24-year-old didn’t have thoughts about repeating the feat against Kovinic, even during the dying stages.

“I'm not thinking about the double bagel at all until the end of the match when we're shaking hands,” Barty said.

“I wanted to go out there and almost take the sting, take the pepper out of the match a little bit and get it on my terms as much as possible right from the get-go, and make it feel like she had a real mountain to climb.

“That was probably the most pleasing overall - right from the start I set the tone and was able to run away with it.”

with AAP

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