Roland Garros: Ashleigh Barty avoids opening round upset in Paris

Pera stretched World No.1 Barty to three sets, but the former French Open champion survived the hard-fought battle.

Ashleigh Barty in a file photo; Credit: [email protected]

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty prevailed in a three-set match against Bernarda Pera in the first round on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on Tuesday. The former French Open champion worked hard to overcame a spirited challenge from World No. 70 Bernarda Pera, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. She has now extended her personal winning streak at the tournament to eight. The Aussie, who won the Roland Garros in 2019, did not play last year’s event, staged in October, after it was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A little bit different but the world is different, isn’t it? The world we live in now is vastly different to that of 2019 when we were here,” Barty said in her post-match press conference. “But certainly it was really enjoyable to be back out on Philippe Chatrier. I think with fans, even though at times it was only a sprinkling, it was still really nice to be able to share that with them and kind of enjoy that, being back out on that beautiful court.”

Barty also revealed that she had a left hip concern prior to the start of the tournament. “It’s going to be a little bit tough this week. I think over the weekend we had a bit of a flare-up through my left hip, which obviously just needed a bit of help today, needed some assistance to try and release it off as best I could. But I think we were able to fight through, able to give ourself a chance to play again the next round,” Barty said.

After two evenly fought sets, Barty saved two break points at 1-1 to hold serve in the third game in the decider. After 2-2, she won the last four games with little difficulty to see out the set and the match. In the second round, she will play either wild card Chloe Paquet of France or Poland’s Magda Linette.

“Today was all about going out there and giving myself a chance and letting myself play with as much freedom as possible and enjoy every minute. We were able to do that today. I think every match that I play in, every different experience, whether it’s I guess an opponent or a physical challenge, I feel like you learn to overcome it and you learn to accept it.

“That was a massive part of today was accepting the fact that, yes, I may not be absolutely 100% but I’m certainly good enough to go out there and fight and do the best I can and give myself a chance to win matches.”

Sportslumo Desk

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