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World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty attempts to win her first match of the season when she takes on the dangerous Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Adelaide International on Tuesday.
Ashleigh Barty 🇦🇺 vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 🇷🇺 Match Info
Date: Tuesday January 14
Tournament: WTA Adelaide International, R1
Time: 12.30pm local time (1.00am GMT)
Ashleigh Barty vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Head-to-Head
Pavlyuchenkova leads 3-2
2018 | Wuhan QF | Barty 6-2 5-7 6-4
2018 | Strasbourg SF | Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 1-0 RET
2017 | WTA Elite Trophy RR | Barty 6-4 6-1
2013 | Kuala Lumpur QF | Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-0
2013 | US Open R64 | Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-0
Ashleigh Barty vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Match Preview
After losing her opening match of the season in Brisbane last week, Barty has another tough clash on her hands to get off the mark in Adelaide on Tuesday against former top 15 player Pavlyuchenkova.
Barty didn’t do too much wrong against Jennifer Brady in Brisbane, but the American qualifier played arguably the best match of her career, served brilliantly and was nerveless in the second set tiebreak. Barty wasn’t too far away from taking it to a decider, and if she had she almost certainly would have won, but all things considered, it wasn’t a poor display for the first match of the year.
In saying that, Barty certainly won’t want to head to the Australian Open – where she’ll be the top seed and under immense pressure to challenge for the title in front of her home fans – with a 0-2 record and winless for 2020, which makes this encounter a potentially tricky one.
Barty put together an extraordinary 2019 campaign, highlighted by winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open and Premier Mandatory crown in Miami, while she also won the grass-court event in Birmingham and capped the year by triumphing at the WTA Finals Shenzhen, beating Elina Svitolina in the final to finish the season as the undisputed World No. 1.
Considering she started the year outside the top 10, it was a dramatic rise. We all knew Barty was a potential World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion, but I don’t think anyone expected her to have the year she did in 2019. After everything she achieved, Barty is now the hunted. Will she be able to defend all of her points and titles in 2020? Only time will tell.
Pavlyuchenkova is about to enter her 14th year of playing WTA tennis, which is quite remarkable when you see she’s still just 28 years of age. The Russian has been around a long time and was touted for superstardom after hitting the junior World No. 1 ranking as a 14-year-old, but unfortunately she’s underachieved for the majority of her career, failing to find the sort of consistency required to maintain a strong presence at the top of the game.
That’s not to say Pavlyuchenkova hasn’t had a good career – she reached her best ranking of No. 13 in 2011 after making the quarter-finals of Roland Garros and the U.S. Open, has won 12 WTA titles throughout her career to date and has proven to be a thorn in the side to the best players in the world, earning 32 top 10 victories. Pavlyuchenkova didn’t have the best season in 2019, ending it at No. 30 in the world (which was her second lowest since 2013), but she’s started 2020 in solid fashion, pushing Petra Kvitova to three sets before losing in the opening round of Brisbane, while she dismantled Anett Kontaveit fairly convincingly, 6-2 6-4, in the first round of Adelaide on Monday.
Ashleigh Barty vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Prediction
The pair have played five times previously, with Pavlyuchenkova leading 3-2, but Barty has won two of their last three and the Russian’s first two wins came at the very start of the Australian’s career. Barty’s court craft, movement and variety gives her a big advantage in this match-up, but she will have to be on guard against Pavlyuchenkova’s firepower, which can be very hard to stop if she gets into a rhythm. Thankfully for Barty, she specialises in disrupting her opponents’ rhythm, and if she simply plays her game, she should be claiming her first win of the season.