Wimbledon: Barty, Gavrilova reach third round
Ash Barty sees off former world No.5 Eugenie Bouchard after Daria Gavrilova completes a straight-sets victory over fellow Aussie Sam Stosur.
Australia has two women through to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time in three years after Ash Barty and Daria Gavrilova won in straight sets on Thursday.
Gavrilova won an all-Aussie affair 6-4 6-1 over Sam Stosur before Barty got the better of Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 7-5.
Barty trailed 5-2 in the second set before reeling off five straight games in a battle between former Wimbledon junior champions; Bouchard won the girls’ singles title in 2012, a year after Barty won the same title.
“Look, I played a really poor service game to get broken (in the second set). Wasn’t far off in a lot of her service games but did well to get out of that game at 5-2, and then played a really solid game – locked down my returns much better and gave myself a chance,” Barty said.
“I knew that once you’re serving for a set and you don’t quite get it, the nerves come. So I knew that all I had to do was continue to play well, hit my spots on serve, and then try and bring my variety as much as possible.”
Barty’s variety has been one of the reasons she’s flourished on grass, especially in 2018 – her victory over Bouchard was her 12th on the surface, the best record of any female player this year.
Her serve was powerful and well-disguised her slice backhand skidded on the grass to keep Bouchard off balance. Cranking 11 forehand winners and success in 10-of-11 trips to the net were other pluses in Barty’s stats column.
Next up for Barty is 14th seed Daria Kasatkina, a straight-sets winner over Yulia Putintseva.
“I haven’t played Daria before, ever – I don’t even actually know if we’ve practised together so it’s a bit of a different one for me,” Barty said.
“I’ve sort of learned much better the past 18 months to play with more freedom in every match regardless of if it’s a first-round match or a final, and just try to play the way that I want to play. I know if I do that and play to my ability that there are a lot of girls out there that I can beat.
“So (I’m) excited to be getting towards the business end, but we’re only a couple of matches in – there’s a hell of a long way to go.”
Playing at the same time on Court 18, Gavrilova wrested control of the match over Stosur from midway through the first set.
At 3-3, the 26th seed won eight of the next nine games to build an insurmountable 6-4 5-0 lead.
Stosur finally got on the board in the next game and saved five match points in a lengthy final game before Gavrilova eventually closed it out in one hour and 21 minutes.
It’s the first time Gavrilova is through to the third round at the All England Club, just a few weeks after she reached the third round at Roland Garros for a career-best result in Paris, too.
“It feels pretty good (to reach this stage), especially with the way I’ve been playing and not having drama matches. It doesn’t happen too often,” Gavrilova smiled.
“I didn’t have to save match points and I haven’t been down like three breaks. Yeah I feel like I’ve just been taking my chances and I’ve been pretty switched on from the get-go and I’ve played tough points and I’ve been pretty disciplined.”
“I’m happy with the way I came in today and with the way I’ve been hitting my volleys so yeah, pretty excited.”
Gavrilova next faces either Aliaksandra Sasnovich – who stunned title favourite Petra Kvitova in round one – or American left-hander Taylor Townsend.
Stosur lamented how quickly the match got away from here after a close start.
“I think we were both kind of feeling our way through and then unfortunately I kind of lost a couple of those closer (games) and then got on a bit of a roll against me, which was not the place that I wanted to be in obviously,” she said.
“I kept trying to hang in there and obviously those last couple of games were pretty long and it was kind of like, if I could do that at maybe 1-0, 2-0, maybe things wouldn’t have got away quite so quick.”