Melbourne, Australia, 11 February 2021 | Leigh Rogers

It has been 43 years since a local woman won the Australian Open women’s singles title.

Ash Barty is one step closer to ending that drought – but her second-round victory today has come at the expense of fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova’s chances.

The world No.1 recorded a 6-1 7-6(7) victory against her 26-year-old compatriot at Rod Laver Arena this afternoon.

After losing only 10 points in a ruthless opening-round victory earlier this week, Barty was forced to fight harder today.

Gavrilova elected to receive and broke in the first game. A poised Barty, playing a fellow Australian in a Grand Slam singles match for the first time in her career, refused to panic and reeled off the next six games.

The 24-year-old was overpowering Gavrilova, hitting nine winners to three in the opening set. She was also dominating on return, winning every point on the world No.387’s second serve.

Gavrilova, however, refused to let this relentless pressure dim her fighting spirit.

The former world No.20, who achieved this high in 2017, broke early in the second set and edged ahead 2-0.

Barty won the next five games and twice had an opportunity to serve for the match, but was unable to close it out.

As Barty’s unforced error count climbed, Gavrilova capitalised to win four consecutive games.

“I was doing the right things to get to 5-2 to give myself a chance to serve out the match. Just lost my way a little bit,” Barty said.

“I haven’t played a lot of tennis over the last 12 months. Obviously going to have ebbs and flows, not only in your concentration, but your level of play as well.”

The world No.1 managed to steady, holding serve to take the second set into a tiebreak.

Gavrilova continued to fight and earned two set points in the tiebreak. But in the end, Barty had too many answers and closed out victory after 92 minutes on court.

Barty, who is now through to the Australian Open third round for a fifth consecutive year, was full of praise for her Billie Jean King team-mate after the match.

“She’s had a bit of a tricky run with injury over the last 18 months or so, so it’s just nice to see her back out here and competing,” Barty said.

The result extends Barty’s winning streak this summer to six matches and sets up a third-round clash with No.29-seeded Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Barty and Sam Stosur, who plays her second-round match tonight, are the last remaining Australians in the women’s singles draw.

In women’s doubles action today, Lizette Cabrera recorded her first Grand Slam main draw win. The 23-year-old teamed with Maddison Inglis, also 23, to defeat Czech Renata Voracora and China’s Wang Yafan in a tight three-set contest.

Belinda Woolcock, 26, and Olivia Gadecki, 18, also scored their career-first Grand Slam wins. They defeated Romanian Mihaela Buzarenescu and Indian Ankita Raina in straight sets.


Aussies in action – day four results

Women’s singles, second round
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) d [WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 6-1 7-6(7)
Jessica Pegula (USA) d [WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-0 6-1

Men’s singles, second round
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3 6-3 7-5
[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) d [WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-1 6-7(5) 6-4
Lloyd Harris (RSA) d [WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-2 1-6 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3
Radu Albot (MDA) d [WC] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-2 7-5 7-6(8)

Women’s doubles, first round
Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Storm Sanders (AUS) d [WC] Simona Halep (ROU)/Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS) 6-4 7-5
[WC] Lizette Cabrera (AUS)/Maddison Inglis (AUS)
d Renata Voracova (CZE)/Wang Yafan (CHN) 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6[10]
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)/Belinda Woolcock (AUS) d Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU)/Ankita Raina (IND) 6-3 6-0
[1] Su-wei Hsieh (TPE)/Barbora Strycova (CZE) d [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS)/Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-4 5-7 6-4
[16] Laura Siegemund (GER)/Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS)/Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Ons Jabeur (TUN)/Christina McHale (USA) d [WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS)/Ellen Perez (AUS) 7-6(4) 6-4
Arantxa Rus (NED)/Tamara Zidansek (SLO) d Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)/Alison Riske (USA) 6-1 6-7(5) 7-5

Men’s doubles, first round
[WC] James Duckworth (AUS)/Marc Polmans (AUS) d Nikola Cacic (SRB)/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) 6-4 6-4
John Millman (AUS)/Thiago Monteiro (BRA) d Federico Coria (ARG)/Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 7-6(5) 6-1

Australian Open 2021 tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.