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Wimbledon 2021: 3 talking points from Ashleigh Barty's first-round win over Carla Suarez Navarro

Ashleigh Barty and Carla Suarez Navarro at the net
Ashleigh Barty and Carla Suarez Navarro at the net

Top seed Ashleigh Barty survived a scare from Carla Suarez Navarro before sealing a 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-1 in the first round of the 2021 Wimbledon on Tuesday. With defending champion Simona Halep out of the tournament due to injury, Barty was given the honor of opening play on Center Court.

The match was Suarez Navarro's final encounter at the All England Club. The Spaniard, who beat cancer, announced earlier this year that this would be the final season of her career.

On that note, let's take a look at three talking points from the riveting encounter between Barty and Suarez Navarro:

#1 Ashleigh Barty's serve remains her biggest asset

Barty sustained a shoulder injury in Rome earlier this year. But she appears to have fully recovered and her serve was in fine working condition in her Wimbledon opener.

The top-ranked Australian started proceedings on Center Court with a near-perfect display. Barty swept through the first game in under a minute, aided by a couple of aces.

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty

Her serve continued to fire throughout the match despite the rest of her game failing for a short period in the second set.

Barty faced just four break points in the entire match and dropped her serve only once. She won 88% of the points on first serve and thundered down 13 aces.

With this performance, it's no surprise the Aussie is the ace leader on tour despite standing at just 5'5".

#2 Ashleigh Barty's variety shines through

The World No.1 is arguably the most versatile player on the women's tour and she brought out her entire bag of tricks against Suarez Navarro. Her well-controlled slices and sharp angles did just enough to disrupt her opponent's rhythm during longer exchanges.

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty

The Aussie also frequently approached the net, where she enjoyed quite a bit of success, winning a whopping 75% of the points.

#3 Carla Suarez Navarro bids farewell to Wimbledon

Carla Suarez Navarro
Carla Suarez Navarro

The 32-year-old Spaniard stepped on to the famed lawns at Wimbledon for the final time on Tuesday and did not disappoint.

A seven-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, Suarez Navarro lost the first set 6-1 and looked set for a quick exit when she trailed by a break in the second. But the Spaniard broke Barty when the Australian was serving for the match and then went on to clinch the set in a tiebreak, forcing a decider.

But Suarez Navarro ran out of steam in the third set, which she conceded 6-1. As she walked off the court, she received a massive ovation from the Centre Court crowd as well as Barty.

"She's a fighter, a great competitor and she will be sorely missed," Barty said.

Suarez Navarro, a former World No. 6, is set to end her career at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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