Ash Barty has won her first singles match of 2022, overcoming a stiff challenge from US teen Coco Gauff to prevail 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a round of 16 clash at the Adelaide International.
“I felt like I got better and better as the match went on,” Barty said, crediting the Adelaide fans for digging her out of a second set hole.
“Once you guys raised your voice a little bit it was a lot of fun.”
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That shout out led to the crowd clearing their throats again for massive cheers.
Former Aussie star Jelena Dokic was impressed with Barty’s resilience.
“That will give her a lot of confidence going into the rest of the summer,” Dokic said on Nine and Stan Sport.
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“This could be the key to her summer and the Australian Open.”
Meanwhile the 17-year-old Gauff – already the world No.21 – undoubtedly has a bright future.
“To push the world No.1 like that… we are going to see so much more of her,” Dokic said.
Barty’s brilliant lob seals set
Barty produced a brilliant lob over Gauff to force a third set.
After winning the first set 6-4, Gauff then broke Barty in the second before the Aussie upped her game for a 7-5 reverse.
“I’ve got goosebumps,” Dokic said after the set point lob.
“Crunch time, she was able to do something special. That’s what world No.1’s do.”
Gauff broke Barty in the ninth game of the first set to go 5-4 up and after a few speed wobbles was able to hold her nerve and serve.
She wasn’t able to maintain the rage but won plenty of admirers with her bold play.
“Fearless isn’t she? World No.1, it really doesn’t matter, really brave with the way she plays and goes about things,” Dokic said.
“Great movement, great footwork, athleticism and agility.
“You wouldn’t think you were looking at a 17-year-old.”
Barty rocked by American teen
Barty will now face the winner of the Ajla Tomljanovic versus Sofia Kenin match tomorrow night.
“I feel like I played a pretty good quality match considering it was the first match in a few months,” Barty said.
“Coco played great. She forced me to play a lot of balls tonight.”
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