Fri, Jan 10, 2020 - Page 16 News List

Qualifier Brady stuns Barty in Brisbane

Reuters

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty yesterday suffered a surprise 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) defeat to American qualifier Jennifer Brady, who claimed the first top-10 win of her career to advance to the Brisbane International quarter-finals.

With the tournament moving into the Pat Rafter Arena at the Queensland Tennis Centre following the end of the ATP Cup group stage, Brady had to contend with not only the Australian top seed, who was given a bye to the last 16, but also a vociferous home crowd.

Barty, who had never dropped a set to Brady in two encounters last year, was unable to muster a single break point, while the American needed only one break of serve in the opening set before sealing the result in the second-set tiebreak.

Barty, who exited the tournament in the first round in 2018, struck more winners than Brady, but 16 unforced errors opened the door for her American opponent, who wrapped up the match in 91 minutes.

Despite losing her season opener, Barty remained upbeat about her Australian Open preparations and said that she does not feel any extra pressure because of her top ranking.

“It doesn’t change the way that I practice. It doesn’t change me as a person,” she told reporters. “I think that you guys [journalists] enjoy the fact that you get something to write about and you have something to talk about.”

“So hopefully I make it interesting for you, but I don’t look at it beyond that,” she added.

Brady, who beat Maria Sharapova in the first round after coming through three qualifiers, is next to face fifth seed Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova, a finalist at last year’s Australian Open, raced past Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-2 in 61 minutes.

Second seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova had to work hard to avoid the same fate as Barty, as she overcame a mid-match blip to secure a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 win over Ajla Tomljanovic.

Third seed Naomi Osaka also had a difficult outing, as she came back from a set down to beat American Sofia Kenin 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-1.

ASB Classic

Reuters, WELLINGTON

Top seed Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki yesterday ensured that the ASB Classic retained its two main draw cards as they battled to second-round victories, although promising teenager Coco Gauff was knocked out.

Williams needed two hours to outlast fellow American Christina McHale with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory, while Wozniacki, who is playing her penultimate tournament, fought back to overcome a tenacious Lauren Davis 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

However, Gauff was upset by Germany’s Laura Siegemund 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in a two-hour, 14-minute match that opened yesterday’s action on Center Court at the Auckland Tennis Centre.

Siegemund will now meet Williams, who struggled against the 86th-ranked McHale, who had not beaten the 23-time Grand Slam champion in their three previous matches.

McHale kept the 38-year-old off balance with clever use of angled returns and chased down everything hammered back at her.

Williams only seized control of the match in the fifth game of the decider when she broke serve.

She later told reporters that she had been angry with her play and was determined not to repeat her early Auckland exit in 2017.

“I think today I just got mad,” Williams said of what had sparked her turnaround. “Honestly, I said I wanted to win more than one match here in New Zealand.”

“I literally thought about that [2017 tournament] and sometimes it’s the craziest things that get you motivated,” she added.

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