Barty's Brisbane singles wait almost over

Murray Wenzel
Australia's world No.1 Ashleigh Barty is primed to start her Brisbane International title quest

Four wins in four days is the task for Ashleigh Barty if Australia's world No.1 is to begin her summer with a maiden Brisbane International crown.

But it's nothing she hasn't managed before, the 23-year-old winning on five straight days to clinch the Birmingham title that completed her ascension to the top of women's tennis last year.

Local hope Barty will play Jennifer Brady first-up on Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday from 11am local time after the American toppled wildcard and former world No.1 Maria Sharapova in the first round.

It will kick-start a run of women's matches possibly never rivalled on any given day in Brisbane, with the world's top three and five of the top 10 all in action.

With the final on Sunday afternoon it means Barty, who enjoyed a first-round bye, won't have a day off in Brisbane if she is to leave town with the trophy.

Thursday will mark the first day women have taken to the Pat Rafter Arena, with the men's ATP Cup confining the Brisbane International to the outside courts in a move that has earned the ire of Sharapova, former champion Petra Kvitova and former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

One-time cricketer Barty has played a straight bat to the issue though and, with her Birmingham run fresh in mind, won't be fazed by the schedule even with two doubles contests already under her belt.

The Queenslander will need to be on her toes though, Brady joking she "could have gone for another five hours" after a 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3) win over Russian favourite Sharapova.

Barty holds a 2-0 record against Brady, beating her most recently in the round of 16 on the way to her Birmingham title.

"Ash is a great player, great person, on and off the court," Brady said.

"But, yeah, she has chopped me up a few times, so hopefully we can change that.

"She's just a great player, sees the court so well, knows the ins and outs of everyone's game. I'm just going to go out there, compete my hardest and just leave it all out there."

Fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic will follow Barty on centre court against world No.2 Karolina Pliskova before former Brisbane champion and world No.7 Kvitova plays Liudmila Samsonova.

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, who finished the year ranked three in the world, holds court in the night session against Sofia Kenin before world No.9 Kiki Bertens plays Anett Kontaveit.