No homecoming party; Barty vows to do her best

BRISBANE • World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty remains upbeat about her Australian Open preparations despite losing her opening match of the season at the Brisbane International yesterday.

American qualifier Jennifer Brady clinched her first win over a top-10 player when she beat the Australian 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) at the Pat Rafter Arena, setting up a quarter-final clash with Czech Petra Kvitova today.

It was Barty's first match on home soil since reaching the summit of her sport and the defeat not only happened in front of thousands of adoring fans, but it was also at the venue where the Queensland native trains.

She later admitted to being outplayed by Brady, who claimed her second straight big scalp after beating former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the last 32.

"Jen was in control of the match - she was... being the aggressor and you have to give credit where credit's due," she said. "She came through qualifying, but... she's playing some exceptional tennis, so I can't take that away from her."

Barty grew up in Ipswich on the western fringes of Brisbane, but when asked whether she felt any additional pressure because of the attention, she insisted the limelight did not result in nerves.

"It doesn't change the way that I practise. It doesn't change the way that my team and I prepare. It doesn't change me as a person," the French Open champion said.

"I'm just trying to do the best that I can and obviously try and put my best foot forward and try and play my best tennis."

Serena Williams, meanwhile, beat fellow American Christina McHale 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to set up a last-eight match with Germany's Laura Siegemund today.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2020, with the headline 'No homecoming party; Barty vows to do her best'. Print Edition | Subscribe