Rival's awkward Ash Barty confession in Australian Open interview

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·Sports Editor
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Paula Badosa and Ash Barty, pictured here in action at the Australian Open.
Paula Badosa made an awkward confession about Ash Barty at the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Paula Badosa has credited Ash Barty for sparking her meteoric rise up the WTA rankings in a rather awkward post-match moment at the Australian Open.

Badosa marched into the Australian Open third round for the first time on Wednesday, sweeping past Martina Trevisan 6-0 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

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The Spanish eighth seed is now unbeaten in seven matches this summer after winning the Sydney Tennis Classic last week.

Badosa underlined her status as an Australian Open dark horse with her booming groundstrokes and big serve overwhelming her Italian opponent.

Badosa started 2021 ranked World No.70 but has reached a career-high sixth on the back of the Sydney title win, beating reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the final.

She said a win over Barty had fuelled her belief after taking down Australia's World No.1 6-4 6-3 at the Charleston Open in April.

"I worked very hard last year, but I think there was a key moment but it was after winning (sic) Ash Barty," Badosa said on Wednesday.

"She's the best player in the world - the number says it because she's an amazing player and for me, beating her was amazing.

"After that moment, I felt that everything was possible and I could win any player."

The awkward confession sparked some laughs and a number of groans from the Aussie crowd, with Barty due on Rod Laver Arena after Badosa's match.

Paula Badosa, pictured here after beating Martina Trevisan at the Australian Open.
Paula Badosa celebrates after beating Martina Trevisan at the Australian Open. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

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Badosa's previous best grand slam performance was an appearance in the 2021 French Open quarter-finals.

The 24-year-old made a first-round exit at Melbourne Park last year.

Her start to 2022 is a stark contrast to her horror trip to Melbourne in 2021.

Badosa was forced into hard hotel quarantine before testing positive to Covid-19 on her seventh day of isolation, which saw her ultimately spend 21 days in hard quarantine.

At the time Badosa described feeling "abandoned" by Tennis Australia, said conditions were "lamentable" and summarised her stay as "far and away the worst experience of (her) career."

Badosa was joined in the second round by two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who thumped Swiss Jill Teichmann 6-1 6-2 on Wednesday.

Badosa sent Barty's compatriot Ajla Toljanovic packing in the first round with a 6-4 6-0 victory.

Five days after losing to Badosa in straight sets at the Sydney Tennis Classic, Tomljanovic fell short in a bruising first set, then was thoroughly outclassed by the World No.8 in a 24-minute second set late on Monday night.

"I knew I had to go for my shots," Badosa said.

"I'm a little bit exhausted but it goes how it goes."

with AAP

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