Top-ranked Barty overcomes late collapse to win at Adelaide

January 14, 2020

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Although 2019 was a breakout year for No. 1-ranked Ash Barty, the Australian is finding 2020 to be an early challenge.

After losing in her first appearance last week at the Brisbane International, Barty appeared to be cruising in the final set of her second-round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Tuesday at the Adelaide International.

Up 5-2, the French Open champion lost three games in a row before breaking her Russian opponent in the 11th game, then serving for the match for the third time, finally prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Pavlyuchenkova missed an overhead backhand at the net to help give Barty the late break, then hit a backhand long on the Australian's first match point.

“I think I was able to find something at the end," Barty said. “Credit Anastasia, we've always had very close ones, she pretty much controlled the whole match."

Barty, who received a first-round bye, advanced to the quarterfinals with the win and will aim to improve on her starts and finishes before the Australian Open begins on Monday in Melbourne.

ln other matches, second-seeded Simona Halep beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-5 and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens lost to 30-year-old Australian qualifier Arina Rodionova 6-2, 6-2 .

The 201st-ranked Rodionova, who endured two three-set wins in qualifying to reach the main draw, was in control from the first game when Stephens lost her serve.

“I was pretty relaxed today," Rodionova said. “From winning those two really tough matches in qualifying, I feel like I deserve to be in the main draw."

Also, eighth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova beat Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-0 and Maria Sakkari had a 7-5, 6-2 win over fifth-seeded Vitalia Diatchenko.

I n men's play, Dan Evans beat Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-2 and seventh-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Salvatore Caruso 6-4, 6-2.

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