Barty doubles down as Open nears

Murray Wenzel
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty (right) with partner Kiki Bertens during their doubles final in Brisbane

It's a bit of fun for Ashleigh Barty, but her time on the doubles court could offer her a vital point of difference when the world No.1 arrives at Melbourne Park later this month.

Barty lost her 2020 singles opener to qualifier Jennifer Brady at the Brisbane International but, with the help of doubles partner Kiki Bertens, ensured she still featured on finals Sunday at Pat Rafter Arena.

The first-time pair held match point against top seeds and Wimbledon champions Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova, but couldn't convert in a 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 10-8 loss.

A day after singles semi-finalists Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka produced an absorbing display of power hitting, Barty showed off all her tricks with deft touches, fine angles and tactical nous.

The Queenslander said that facet of her game wouldn't carry any extra weight than normal at the year's first grand slam, but admitted it would always be a much-loved part of her armoury.

"I love doubles and how it changes the geometry of the court and how you have to understand the court differently," she said.

"It presents you with different challenges and I like the way ... it tests me to bring out different phases and parts of my game which helps my singles, regardless of where I'm playing next.

"I just love it; you get to serve and return under pressure and transition moving forward."

One-time Queensland and Brisbane Heat batter Barty will continue her Australian Open preparations at the Adelaide International, which begins on Monday.

"I've been to Adelaide Oval for cricket (twice) but not for tennis so it will be nice to go and see Memorial Drive, because it's new to me," she said.

Barty has a first-round bye in Adelaide and will play Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Estonian Anett Kontaveit in her opening match.

The top seed is slated to run into former world No.1 and three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber, 2018 US Open winner Sloane Stephens, a qualifier or talented Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the quarter-finals.

She said the intensity of the doubles final in Brisbane had helped prepare her after the early singles exit.

"You can't replicate that last 30 or 40 minutes of that match in practice and that stuff is nice to get early in the season ... I crave it. I love it," she said.

"Doubles has always helped my singles and vice versa, and doubles will always be a feature in my schedule."