A round one exit to Jennifer Brady in Brisbane was Ash Barty’s earliest exit from a tournament for over twelve months.
Just over a week later following four wins on the bounce the world number one has picked up her first title of 2020 in the augural event in Adelaide.
Ash has now become the first Australian woman to win a singles title on home soil since 2011 and it’s the perfect preparation for the Aussie.
Now the pressure will ramp up on Barty.
I was there at Melbourne Park last January and the Barty Party fever was in the air, everyone was talking about Ash Barty. I saw both of her wins against Maria Sakkari (which was the first match I watched on RLA) and the big three setter against Maria Sharapova.
I don’t think many would have predicted she would go on to do what she did in 2019 and looks pretty locked in right now.
Ash comes across as someone who deals well with pressure but right now she is about to enter into unknown pressure. If anything it is pressure only two people over the last ten years have had.
Andy Murray and Serena Williams are the only other two to have been a world number one at a home major since 2010 until now.
What I like about Ash when she speaks is it is all about the team and never about I but about we.
I feel like she has the right people around her to perform at a home slam and to be able to deal with the pressure.
This is Ash’s potential path to success in Melbourne:
R1 – Tsurenko
R2 – Hercog / Peterson
R3 – Rybakina
R4 – Martic/Riske
QF – Kvitova/Keys
SF – Osaka/Serena
F – Pliskova/Halep
It is a nice early couple of rounds for the world number one and you’d argue as well you wouldn’t put money on Kvitova or Keys getting to the quarters but could pull a surprise.
Ash will begin her title hunt on Monday night in Melbourne against Lesia Tsurenko from Ukraine.