Barty fights past Giorgi firepower
The Australian No.1 reached the third round at Melbourne Park last year.
The Barty Party has rolled into round three at the Australian Open after home hope Ashleigh Barty ground out a tough win over Italian Camila Giorgi.
The 7-5 6-4 6-1 victory backed up Barty’s run to the final 32 at Melbourne Park last year and set up another opportunity match against Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka on Saturday.
“This is amazing. Nothing better than playing on this court, the best court in Australia. I’m lucky to be out here for the second time in a row,” Barty beamed. “I can’t wait for Saturday to give it a red hot crack, to go further than I ever have.”
With the temperature still in the high 30s at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night, the 21-year-old withstood plenty of heat from the hard-hitting Giorgi.
Barty hadn’t lost to the Italian in their previous two encounters but Giorgi had shown some stellar form this summer, reaching the final in Sydney.
As Giorgi blasted winners from both sides, Australia’s world No.17 was happy to play the waiting game, showing her growing maturity.
Reminiscent of her first-round win over Aryna Sabalenka, when she also clawed her way back from a first set deficit, Barty showed patience beyond her 21 years.
Not that that was her game plan.
“I would like to not lose the first set all the time and not get hit off the court,” Barty said.
“It’s nice to get through in three sets and sort of feel good and work my way into the match.”
The match went with serve in the first set until Giorgi snatched the break for a 5-3 lead.
The Australian broke straight back only to concede again on the back of a loose service game, with Giorgi then steaming ahead to take the first set.
Barty served for the second set after the pair traded breaks amongst some pulsating rallies only for Giorgi to unleash a huge forehand to save her skin.
But up 5-4 and with three set points, Barty broke her opponent again to win the second and regain level pegging.
The deciding set was one-way traffic with Barty’s serve doing plenty of damage as Giorgi wilted.
With two match points, the Queenslander laid down her 12th ace to secure the win.
Barty has never played Osaka before, with the world No.72 eliminating 16th seeded Russian Elina Vesnina to make the third round.
Victory over Osaka could put Barty into a last-16 clash with world No.1 Simona Halep.