Ash Barty shows ruthless side in second-round demolition job at Australian Open

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<span>Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP</span>
Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

As ever, Ash Barty the person was understated. And in customary style, Ash Barty the tennis player was ruthless. Another qualifier down, another round deeper into the Australian Open women’s singles draw. This time her victim was Lucia Bronzetti, an Italian ranked 142 places lower than the Australian world No 1. She snatched two games off the Wimbledon champion, which was one more than Lesia Tsurenko managed in the opener. But it is really splitting hairs when the scoreline ends at 6-1, 6-1.

This was as routine as it gets for Barty, a 52-minute stroll in the sun at Rod Laver Arena. She rolled out the wicked serve, the backhand slice and the top-spin forehand and calmly, almost quietly, slipped the win into her satchel she hopes will be full to the brim come the end of next week.

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Next on the list on Friday is another Italian in 30th seed Camila Giorgi, before a potential fourth-round encounter with Naomi Osaka.

“She [Giorgi] is an incredible ball-striker one of the most athletic girls out here,” Barty said. “Not afraid to stand on the baseline and put you under time pressure from the first strike. I will have to are have my running shoes on get the backhand slice out and bring in variation and see how it goes.”

That variation was also on show on Wednesday, when Barty kept her opponent to seven points in the first five games and broke her five times en route to extending her unbeaten run in 2022 to six matches, having already won the season-opening Adelaide International.

“I felt like we had a good preparation in Adelaide,” she said. “We played well, played throughout tough matches. [Coach] Craig Tyzzer is the master. He’s good in the business and spoilt to have him in my team. Grateful he has the tactical knowledge communication and the way we talk to each other is incredible. He’s going to love he’s on the big screen. I feel like our whole team works extremely well together. We’re enjoying our tennis and being able to produce some pretty good stuff.”

The victory came on the Australian Open’s inaugural First Nations Day, of which Barty’s fellow Indigenous Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley is an ambassador.

“She’s an incredible human being, I’m extremely lucky to call her a friend and know she’s only a phone call away,” she said. “We’re connected through our heritage. She’s an incredible woman who has paved a path and been able to guide so many of the Indigenous youth coming up in the last however many years through her work off the court. I love her to death.”

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