Ash Barty withdraws from Sydney event in sad blow for tennis fans

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·Sports Editor
·4-min read
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  • Ashleigh Barty
    Australian tennis player
  • Elena Rybakina
    Kazakh female tennis player
Ash Barty, pictured here celebrating after beating Elena Rybakina to win the Adelaide International title.
Ash Barty celebrates after beating Elena Rybakina to win the Adelaide International title. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Ash Barty has withdrawn from this week's Sydney Tennis Classic after winning the singles and doubles titles at the Adelaide International on Sunday.

The World No.1 was originally scheduled to head to Sydney after Adelaide to continue her preparations for the Australian Open.

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But after getting plenty of match practice in Adelaide - where she went undefeated in winning the singles and doubles titles - Barty has evidently decided she is ready for the Melbourne Park grand slam.

The WTA released an updated draw on Monday morning, with Barty a notable absentee.

It will be a bitter blow for fans in Sydney who were hoping to see the World No.1 in action ahead of the Australian Open.

"It's been an extraordinary week. We've been able to play lots of matches in singles and doubles. We've had plenty of court time, which is great," Barty said on Monday afternoon.

"Unfortunately, I am withdrawing from the Sydney Tennis Classic to have some time to recover before the Australian Open.

"I'm sorry I won't get the chance to play in front of the Sydney fans this year. I hope to see you all again soon. I wish the players and the tournament team all the best for the week ahead."

Barty underlined her Australian Open title favouritism with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 win over 14th-ranked Elena Rybakina in Adelaide on Sunday.

Teaming with fellow Australian Storm Sanders, the Wimbledon champion then crowned her memorable week with a 6-1 6-4 win over Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac in the doubles final.

Her straight-sets victory over Rybakina improved Barty's record against top-20 rivals to 17-1 since the beginning of last year.

Ash Barty and Storm Sanders, pictured here celebrating after winning the doubles title at the Adelaide International.
Ash Barty and Storm Sanders celebrate after winning the doubles title at the Adelaide International. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

She also beat teenage prodigy Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofin Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek en route to lifting the 14th trophy of her career.

"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year. Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different," she said.

"So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne.

"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a grand slam."

Ash Barty brimming with confidence ahead of Australian Open

Rybakina challenged Barty early, rocketing down the fastest serve of the tournament as games went with serve until 3-3.

The Australian then found herself double break point down at 15-40 in the seventh game.

But, as she has done all tournament, the World No.1 produced her best tennis while under the gun to hold serve with an ace, an induced error and two huge crosscourt forehands.

Frustrated at missing her moment, Rybakina dropped her own serve the very next game with a flurry of unforced errors as Barty forged to a 5-3 lead.

The 2020 Adelaide champion closed out the set to love after 29 minutes.

Momentum firmly on her side, Barty gained another break in the opening game of the second set as Rybakina's double-faulting proved costly.

The match was all but over when Barty clinched the double break to power to a 4-0 lead, before Rybakina formally submitted after just 64 minutes.

"I felt like when my back was against the wall this week, I was able to have some real clarity with what I wanted to do and the patterns that I wanted to play," Barty said.

"That's a bonus. You can't always execute that."

with AAP

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