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Sydney International: Ashleigh Barty fires away to send Jelena Ostapenko out

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
News
155   //    08 Jan 2019, 10:27 IST

2019 Sydney International - Day 3
2019 Sydney International - Day 3

Jelena Ostapenko still couldn’t find her groove on the court at the Sydney International on Tuesday afternoon. The Latvian struggled with the forehand lost to Australian hopeful Ashleigh Barty, who conducted her game well with great focus and accuracy to win 6-3, 6-3 at Ken Rosewall Arena on the grounds of Sydney Olympic Park.

The two met one back in 2017 where they split the two matches from that season. The Australian took the Latvian down on the hard courts after losing on clay which is Ostapenko’s forte.

With the world number 15 winning two at the Hopman Cup, it gave her an edge over the 21-year-old who didn’t get up to speed in her first match at Shenzhen. With some time off, the world number 22 turned things around fast.

She stayed along with Barty, making sure to contain her service games while increasing her attacks for the break. The Australian wouldn’t allow her that sort of satisfaction and held up her end through five.

The bar was set for Ostapenko to continue matching the Aussie until she could find a chance to get ahead on the scoreboard. The margin of victory stood for Barty after pulling off a break in the sixth that gave her a 4-2 lead.

The breaks seemed to continue as Ostapenko gained her first double break getting back within a game of the 22-year-old. Her serve in the eighth was an important one to level but a loss of containment allowed Barty to force deuce.

The double faults were not helping her cause as she committed her sixth that extended the game deeper. After six breaks, the game went to Barty who took a commanding 5-3 hold.

She served for the set which came in the shape of a serve to love, ending 40 minutes of play. Barty landed 13 of 16 on the first serve and 60 percent on service points won that took their toll on Ostapenko.

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Barty picked up where she left off, getting an early break in the third before widening the gap on Ostapenko’s continuous unforced errors. It was soon a two-game buffer between the two, leaving the Latvian with little options to pull off a comeback.

She managed to keep within a game after holding in the fifth but the momentum was with Barty going forward. The Aussie made good on holding her own games together, putting pressure on the former French Open champion to answer in kind. She nearly had a serve to love but still held back Barty to keep her within reach.

The eighth was Ostapenko’s chance to get it done with break point chances coming. Unfortunately, the returns in the rallies landed wide of the court that turned the tables dramatically. It put Barty in a position to finish off the struggling Latvian who found herself being outplayed in the ninth.

A match point for the home favorite came on a wide return from Ostapenko that ended another tournament for the 21-year-old in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Barty finished the day with an 85 percent success on points won from the first serve despite having four double faults. Despite being an underdog in the tournament, the 22-year-old would give it her all against world number one Simona Halep in the round of 16. 

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