Barty time: Ash reflects on huge night in KL

Posted February 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Ash Barty awoke to a phone full of text messages in Kuala Lumpur on Monday after becoming the first Australian woman not named Sam Stosur to win a WTA singles title in six years, but one from a fellow fisherwoman with whom Barty has formed a close bond was particularly special. Evonne Goolagong Cawley was among the well-wishers and Barty was thrilled.
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“I love Evonne, she’s an amazing person,” Barty said of the dual Wimbledon champion with whom she shares an Indigenous heritage. “She just said ‘congrats’ and obviously she knows what it’s like, so it was just nice to wake up and see a message from her. It certainly brought a smile to my face.”

Barty had not counted the SMS tally by the time she chatted to Fairfax Media, but admitted “there was certainly a lot of love there – I’m a lucky girl”. And, understandably, a slightly weary one, having come through qualifying to clinch her maiden singles title in a rain-interrupted final 6-3, 6-2 against Japan’s Nao Hibino, before combining with close friend Casey Dellacqua to claim her third career doubles crown.

It was midnight by the time Dellacqua, Barty and coach Craig Tyzzer made it back to their hotel. “Everything was closed, so we just went down to the lobby, and had a little room service dinner, and had a chat for about an hour, but then we had to come up and get organised to fly to Indian Wells today,” Barty said. “A short-lived celebration, but it doesn’t matter for me. It’s all right.”

It was, indeed, more than enough to have become the first non-Stosur Australian woman to triumph at WTA Tour-level since Jelena Dokic’s 2011 success at the same event. The 20-year-old joins Stosur (8 titles), Dokic (6), Alicia Molik (5), Jarmila Wolfe (2) and Nicole Pratt (1) on the collective post-2000 honour roll, simultaneously vaulting from 158th into double-figures for the first time, at No.92.

“Probably the best tennis week of my life, for sure,” said Barty, who dropped just one set over seven singles matches. “We’ve had some amazing results, but the pleasing thing is we were able to keep that consistency throughout the whole week, for the first time … It would have been a good week if we’d come away with five or six matches, let alone 10 or 11, so it’s a big week and obviously it’s a monumental one with a title and cracking the top hundred, but the result’s a bonus.”

Especially when one considers that after walking away from the game and – eventually – to a head-clearing season of Big Bash cricket, Barty is already far ahead of schedule. She paid tribute to Tyzzer and conditioning guru Narelle Sibte – “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what I did during the summer or this week without Tyzz and Narelle” – and played well during January, including reaching the third round at the Australian Open. But it was in Malaysia that, in Barty’s words, “the stars aligned”.

Never mind that it means missing the qualifying event at Indian Wells, where she and Dellacqua nevertheless hope to “ruffle a few feathers” in the doubles. The Queenslander has no individual rankings points to defend until the grasscourt swing in June, while her sub-100 ranking brings with it the bonus of direct main draw entry at the majors. Another first. “That top 100 is a big barrier that every tennis player strives to break into. We’re just super-excited… I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

And yet, only 12 months ago this week, the young woman who won the 2011 junior Wimbledon title first dipped her toe back in the doubles water after 18 months out. It was never “set in stone” that the break would be permanent, she says, having just known that a separation was needed. The cricket, which she loved, took her mind off tennis, but wielding a bat rather than a racquet in the summer of 2016 also made her realise how much she missed her original love and eventual calling.

“I knew then that this is sort of what I was meant to do,” said Barty, who is happy again, regardless of what the scoreboard may say. “Now it obviously looks like an amazing decision, but even if I hadn’t have been so successful as I have been at the start, in my eyes it was still the right decision.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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