Tough opener for Barty in Hobart
UPDATE: Ash Barty will be hoping to maintain her giant-killing form after being handed a tough opening round assignment at the Hobart International.
Australian teen sensation Ashleigh Barty will be hoping to maintain her giant-killing form after being handed a tough opening round assignment at the WTA’s Hobart International.
The diminutive 16-year-old opens her campaign against German defending champion Mona Barthel, who has been promoted to No.9 seed following the withdrawal of Brisbane finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Fresh off a shock 6-0 6-3 demolition of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the Hopman Cup on Thursday, Barty could get the chance to do it all again with a possible semifinal date with the sixth-seeded Italian, should they both make it that far.
Hobart champion in 2011, Jarmila Gajdosova, who won her only other WTA title at the Guangzhou International Women’s Open in 2010, faces a winnable first-round clash with Swiss player Romina Oprandi in what is a tough bottom half of the draw including Spanish fifth seed Carla Suarez Navarro and rising American Sloane Stephens.
Stephens, who was ousted by compatriot Serena Williams in the Brisbane International quarterfinals, will face British teen Laura Robson, who won the mixed doubles silver medal with Andy Murray at the London Olympics.
Also in the bottom half and faring best of the three Australian wildcards is Bojana Bobusic drawing a qualifier in the first round.
Defending Hobart International champion Mona Barthel, who became the first woman in the history of the tournament to come through qualifying and lift the trophy, was dealt a tough draw facing No.2 seed Sorana Cirstea in the opening round.
Top seed Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan has been will open her campaign against China’s Shuai Peng.