Ash Barty has survived a significant scare in her first match for the reason that Australian summer time, narrowly avoiding a 3rd consecutive defeat that will have seen her maintain on the world primary loosen drastically.
There was excessive drama within the Aussie star’s spherical of 64 match towards world quantity 149 Kristina Kucova on the Miami Open as she fought again for a 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory.
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Barty, who’s defending 1000 world rating factors on the occasion after successful it when it was final held in 2019, trailed 5-2 within the third set earlier than launching an inspirational comeback.
She staved off a match level with a forehand return winner within the ninth recreation to tug it again on serve earlier than breaking once more to go forward 6-5.
There was a late scare as Barty fell behind 15-40 whereas serving for the match however she reeled off the following 4 factors to say the win.
Nonetheless, it’s a barely regarding efficiency towards Kucova, who has by no means been ranked greater than 71 on this planet and was knocked out within the first spherical of qualifying for this yr’s Australian Open.
Observers famous Barty’s “degree was veering far and wide” and the match “wasn’t fairly”. The 24-year-old meets world quantity 54 Jelena Ostapenko within the spherical of 32.
Whereas many prime gamers, together with males’s primary Novak Djokovic and Aussie star Nick Kyrgios, opted to skip the Miami occasion due to America’s ongoing COVID points, Barty opted to take the plunge because of the points she was defending.
“You weigh up the chance v reward, (and) what you’re prepared to simply accept,” she stated, forward of the match.
“I really feel like now we’re in a snug place realizing that the tour’s doing the suitable factor.
“We’re going to be in a secure atmosphere.”
That danger has paid off now for now, however Barty shall be scrambling to search out higher type forward of the yr’s subsequent main — the French Open the place she can also be defending the 2000 factors she secured by successful her first grand slam again in 2019.