Ashleigh Barty is showing some ability to overcome poor showings and come back with new determination, as she has made it through to the final eight of the Sydney International.
Barty crashed out of the Brisbane International tournament last week, losing to a lower-ranked player in meek fashion.
She beat local qualifier Ellen Perez in straight sets, although Perez did push Barty to a tiebreak in the first set. The final score was 7 – 6 (7 – 4), 6 – 1, so Barty was obviously in no mood to let Perez get even a sniff of hope.
Nerves were on edge, as the pair had to cool their heels for close to two hours to wait out a thunderstorm.
Barty struggled with her serve during the first set, double-faulting five times and looking for all the world as though she was going to reprise her Brisbane performance, but she righted the ship and began to play her usual power-precision game.
Barty was able to regain her composure at just the right time and the second set turned into a rout.
Barty will next play world number 21 Babora Strycova for the chance to advance to the next round and the match could go a long way toward confirming her form against the top ranks of women’s tennis.
If she can beat Strycova, she could be looking at a match with Sam Stosur, a semifinal meeting with top-seeded Garbine Muguruza or Daria Gavrilova.
Stosur was also sent packing in the first round of the Brisbane International, but she has recovered to come from a set down against Germany’s Carina Witthoeft to win 4 – 6, 7 – 5, 6 – 3.
Stosur is the only Australian tennis player in the past 15 years to win a Grand Slam event. She won the U.S. Open in 2011 in fine fashion, defeating none other than Serena Williams. Stosur won quite handily, 6 – 2, 6 – 3.