Barty back where she belongs after AO trip
Barty put in a spirited display over two hours at a packed Rod Laver Arena on Friday night but lost 6-4 3-6 6-3 to qualifier Barthel.
Ashleigh Barty’s Australian Open party is over, with the wildcard falling at the hands of German veteran Mona Barthel in the third round.
Barty put in a spirited display over two hours at a packed Rod Laver Arena on Friday night but lost 6-4 3-6 6-3 to the qualifier.
The Queenslander had the match on her racquet with a dominant second-set performance, thrashing 17 winners to six.
The match was hers to lose when she claimed an early break in the third set.
In her comeback Australian Open, nerves got the better of the 20-year-old, as she gave away the ascendancy.
“I never really felt like I had control,” she said. “I don’t know how I was able to get that second set, to be honest.
“It was a bit scrappy. I just hung in there long enough.”
Despite the result, Barty had already achieved her best result at a major tournament after her well-publicised spell away from the game to play cricket.
“If you would have asked me 12 months ago if I was going to be in the third round of the Australian Open, I would say, ‘mate you’re kidding,” she said.
“It’s disappointing tonight that we couldn’t execute what we wanted but it’s still a very positive week.”
If there’s just one request from Barty, it’s an end to the references to the comeback which began 12 months ago.
“I felt like it was a comeback maybe for the first two months. When I played my first tournament, I felt like we folded straight back into it,” she said.
“I feel like I’m sort of back where I belong and it’s been that way for many months now.”
Barty will rise around 70 places to sit around the edges of the world’s top 150 with the result.
Barthel – a former Hobart International champion – didn’t have the crowd on her side but does have her own comeback story.
The 26-year-old was sidelined with chronic fatigue syndrome last year and has reached the last 16 of a grand slam for the first time.
The German will play Venus Williams, who eviscerated Duan Ying-Ying 6-1 6-0 earlier on Friday, for a quarter-final berth.