Brisbane QLD, Australia, 1 January 2018 | AAP

High flying Australian No.1 Ash Barty has crashed back to earth, beaten 6-3 6-2 in her first-round Brisbane International clash with Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

World No.17 Barty – ranked 25 spots higher than her opponent – battled from the outset in steamy conditions to succumb in just over an hour at Pat Rafter Arena.

Tsurenko, 28, booked a second-round clash with 2012 Brisbane International champion Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

The packed crowd looked forward to a glimpse of eighth seed Barty’s brilliance after the Australian’s stellar 2017 run.

She started last year ranked No.271 after a season out of the game playing cricket.

Remarkably she was Australia’s No.1 women’s player by October and ended the year in the top-20, knocking over five top 10 players on the way.

But the crowd favourite Barty, 21, had no answer to Tsurenko – a Brisbane semifinalist in 2013 – in their first career meeting at tour level.

Barty clinched her first WTA singles title last year and made another two finals but will now need to regroup to make an impact on the Australian Open in Melbourne.

She will play at next week’s Sydney International.