World No.1 Australian Ash Barty is back in action following Friday night’s loss to Romanian Simona Halep.
Barty claimed the first set 6-3 before Halep hit back to win the second set 6-1, sending the match to a tiebreak where the world No.2 clinched victory 10-8.
It was Barty’s first match following an 11-month lay-off.
“Ash doesn’t look like she didn’t play last year, so well done,” Halep said in her post-match.
“It’s always going to be a great fight when I play against her.”
Barty today will partner US Open finalist Jennifer Brady, with the pair taking on Sharon Fichman (CAN) and Giuliana Olmos (MEX).
As Barty continues to get her rhythm back and get prepared for next month’s Australian Open, Nine commentator and tennis great Sam Smith said fans will really see where Barty’s form is at when she’s forced to overcome being down a break point.
“I think we’ll find out where she’s really at when she’s break point down at 3-4 down first set, or second set,” Smith told The Age.
“There’s a lot of things we don’t know. But she looked very good against Halep …. just a few little things to tidy up.
“But she’s a natural match player, a natural tennis player.”
Smith said it was important Barty used her warm-up matches to get her body accustomed to the niggles and minor injuries that come with a long tournament.
“She could do with a lovely run at the event held before Melbourne, and some long matches as well just to get the fitness, also to just get the body hardened,” she added.
“You forget how much the feet blister, the hands get sore – all those little niggles come back to you.”