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Flawless Ashleigh Barty Powers into Australian Open Third Round

Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of Australian Open. (AP Photo)

Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of Australian Open. (AP Photo)

Ashleigh Barty served well to storm into the Australian Open third round with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lucia Bronzetti.

Power-serving top seed Ashleigh Barty raced into the Australian Open third round Wednesday with another near-flawless performance, expelling little energy to swat aside Lucia Bronzetti. The Australian world number one is in ominous early-season form and was laser-focused on Rod Laver Arena against her second qualifier in a row, sweeping past the Italian 6-1, 6-1 in just 52 minutes. Barty launched her bid for a maiden Australian Open title in emphatic fashion on Monday, crushing Lesia Tsurenko for the loss of one game in 54 minutes.

Her serve has been untouchable all year. She is now unbeaten in six matches to start the 2022 season after winning the Adelaide International and has not lost a service game for five straight matches.

“We are exactly where we are,” Barty said.

“I felt like we had a good preparation in Adelaide. We played well, played throughout tough matches. (Coach) Craig Tyzzer is the master.

“I feel like our whole team works extremely well together. We’re enjoying our tennis and being able to produce some pretty good stuff.”

Wimbledon champion Barty has been the top-ranked player for 111 consecutive weeks and her little-known 23-year-old opponent, ranked 142 and in her first Grand Slam, never stood a chance.

She held serve then broke Bronzetti to love on a centre court bathed in sunshine.

Bronzetti only hit one winner in the opening five games before finally getting off the mark with a service hold, ahead of the Australian banking the set in 26 minutes.

The Italian held again to start the second set on a positive note but was broken in her next service game and the set followed a similar script.

Barty will face a tougher task on Friday in the last 32 where experienced 30th seed Camila Giorgi awaits after the Italian beat Czech Tereza Martincova 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).

“She is an incredible ball striker and one of the most athletic girls out there,” said Barty of Giorgi.

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first published:January 19, 2022, 09:53 IST