Having failed to start her 2020 season with a title, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty would be doubly motivated to make amends at the Adelaide International this week before heading to the year's first Major.
The 23-year-old shockingly slumped to a Round of 16 defeat against qualifier Jennifer Brady in Brisbane, but is looking every bit the planet's best player this week in terms of lifting her game under pressure.
Former World No. 13 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who has reached the quarter-finals of every Grand Slam, isn't the kind of opponent one would like to have in the opening round. It certainly was a tough proposition for Barty, especially after the Australian was coming from a demoralizing defeat. But the way she dug deep and pulled off a win over the veteran Russian, despite making a slow start, was really admirable.
Barty stormed back after losing the first set 4-6 to even the match at one set apiece. In a highly competitive decider, she managed to hold her nerve and show her steely resolve to complete a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.
That would have surely boosted her confidence levels ahead of her quarter-final showdown with eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova.
The Czech southpaw is a very familiar opponent for Barty. The two have crossed swords thrice, with their last match being the 2019 French Open final - where Barty rolled to a breezy 6-1, 6-3 win.
In fact, the two have met on every surface, with Barty emerging the victor each time. The Australian's potent serve, brilliant movement and ability use the slice at will make her a dangerous player to face for Vondrousova, who can't quite match up to Barry's fluidity on the court.
The outcome of this match doesn't seem likely to go any other way. That said, having won two matches at the expense of only three games this tournament, Vondrousova would certainly be looking to give a better account of herself than she did in their last meeting.
Here's all you need to know about Adelaide International 2020
Tournament: Adelaide International 2020
Category: WTA Premier
City: Adelaide, Australia
Prize money: $848, 000
Match schedule: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs (8) Marketa Vondrousova at 1 pm IST, on 16 January 2020
Head-to-head: Barty leads 3-0