Ash Barty triggered a wave of nervous murmurs in Rod Laver Arena on Monday night when she lost the first set of her first match of the Australian Open.
Her opponent, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, was no slouch - the world no.1 was forced to trade service breaks with the former world no.23 several times before dropping the first set.
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In typical Ash Barty style though, the Australian champion responded in a big way.
As though she had flipped a switch somewhere, Barty was a different player in the second and third sets, ultimately claiming a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
The final two sets were a clinic from Barty, with the second set decided by a thunderous ace which almost collected Tsurenko in the head.
The deciding set was one-way traffic as well, with the home town hero wrapping things up in just over an hour and a half.
Barty banged through 10 aces to Tsurenko’s one, and committed only one double-fault to her opponent’s nine.
Despite some nerves after the first set, Barty’s dominant display had Aussie tennis fans in raptures on social media.
It was complicated in that 1st set, but Ash Barty prevails. 57 61 61 over Lesia Tsurenko in 1 hr, 35 mins.— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) January 20, 2020
Barty hits 10 aces and 25 winners ttl, winning 78% of first serve points. She struggled through it to start but the finish is what matters
Peterson or Hercog next #AusOpen
Sam Smith: “Ash, you gave everyone a terrible scare in the first set.”— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 20, 2020
Barty: “Nah it’s all good.” #AusOpen
Tsurenko had no answers for Barty after winning the first set, hitting just four winners in the subsequent 14 games in a remarkable collapse.
Speaking on court after the game, Barty was her typical laid-back self.
Asked about whether she worried making the comeback after dropping the first set, the world no.1 was all confidence.
“Nah it’s all good,” she quipped.
“Nah, it’s amazing to be back out here, it’s a tight turnaround from Adelaide but it was really nice to sort it out a bit more in the start of the second set.”