Tennis fans laud Ash Barty over 'statement' display

Breaking back Naomi Osaka finds comfort in shaky win at Gippsland Trophy

She has said she will not hesitate to ask eight-time Australian Open victor Novak Djokovic for a word of advice about defending major titles but feels her performances past year give her "some air to breathe" when it comes to expectations.

Australian Open champion Kenin, seeded second, appeared headed for an exit against fellow American Jessica Pegula when she fell 3-0 back after losing the first set but the feisty 22-year-old found her range and rallied for a 5-7 7-5 6-2 win.

"I feel for all you guys down here, what you've gone through in the last six, seven months down here in Victoria".

Barty and Rogers have met once, at the 2017 Australian Open, with Barty claiming a 7-5 6-1 second round victory. The atmosphere will be different in Melbourne compared to how tennis activities took place during the pandemic a year ago.

"I wrestled with the decision for quite a while", she said.

Ash Barty may be at her first tournament since March past year, but the Aussie is starting to build serious momentum ahead of the Australian Open after her victory over Czech Marie Bouzkova.

Australian Open organizers have delayed the start of the Grand Slam tournament by three weeks because of safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a different scenario plagued the Grand Slam at the Flushing Meadows back in 2020.

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Williams had a tough win over Pironkova in last year's U.S. Open quarter-finals, and then withdrew from their scheduled second-round match at the French Open because of an Achilles injury.

She didn't mind the extra work. "I played a shorter match yesterday, so maybe subconsciously I made myself play a long match today".

"Coming off a night match, I'm an early riser so I didn't get a lot of sleep last night", Barty said. Next up for her will be Irina Begu, who upset fifth-seeded Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-6 (10), 7-6 (4).

Second-ranked Simona Halep had a more straight-forward 6-2, 6-4 win over Laura Siegemund.

Also advancing were third-seeded Elina Svitolina, who beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2, and No. 7 Elise Mertens.

Three-time major champion Angelique Kerber took a while to adjust in her first match since leaving quarantine, beating Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the Grampians Trophy tournament.

The Australian Open was again thrown into chaos Wednesday when up to 600 players and officials were told to isolate and get tested after a worker at a hotel they are staying in became infected with Covid-19.

Usually, the lead-up tournaments for the Australian Open are held in other state capitals and the top players tend to have the week off before the first major of the season.

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