World No. 1, Ashleigh Barty launches her Australian Open campaign on Monday night when she takes on Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in the first round.
Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko is live from Melbourne on Monday, 20 January from 7:00pm local time/ 9:00am GMT
Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko Match Info
Date: Monday January 20
Tournament: Australian Open R1
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 7:00pm local time/ 8:00am GMT
Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko Head-to-Head
2018 | Brisbane R1: Tsurenko bt. Barty 6-3 6-2
2014 | Acapulco (Q): Barty bt. Tsurenko 6-0 6-2
Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko Match Preview
Barty arrives Melbourne in excellent form, having claimed her first title of the year at the inaugural Adelaide International on Sunday. The 23-year-old had opened her season with defeat to Jennifer Brady in Brisbane, but she bounced back in style in Adelaide, where she claimed her eighth WTA title, and her first on home soil.
Barty came through a high-quality field in Adelaide, taking out hard-hitting Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, French Open finalist, Marketa Vondrousova, in-form American, Danielle Collins, and Ukrainian rising star, Dayana Yastremska en route the title.
“Obviously [winning Adelaide is] the perfect preparation,” Barty said ahead of her Melbourne opener. “But regardless of whether I won the title or not last week, I feel like I’m well-prepared”.
“I’m happy, I’m healthy. I’m coming into the first Grand Slam of the year with a smile on my face. That’s all I can ask of myself”.
“Really special to be able to have won a title last week. My first on Australian soil.”
Having won her first title on home soil, can she now go ahead to win the biggest title in her home country? Barty is targeting her second Grand Slam title, having claimed her first at Roland Garros in a stunning 2019. Apart from her success in Paris, she also won titles in Miami, Birmingham and the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen to take her overall title tally to four. The Australian finished the season as the No. 1 player in the world, and regardless of whatever happens over the next fortnight in Melbourne, she is guaranteed to stay at the pinnacle of the women’s game after the Australian Open.
Barty lost her first three matches at the Australian Open, falling at the first hurdles from 2012 to 2014, but she has been a lot better since her return from a brief hiatus from the sport, reaching the third round in 2017 and 2018, and the quarter finals last year.
Can she move a few steps further in 2020 and claim her maiden Melbourne crown? The journey begins on Monday when she faces Ukrainian, Tsurenko.
Tsurenko has only just returned to the tour after being bothered by an elbow injury in the second half of last season.
Her last match in 2019 was in August- a 6-4 6-4 defeat to Zarina Diyas in the second round of the Citi Open in Washington. Tsurenko had made a very bright start to 2019, reaching the final of the Brisbane International (lost to Karolina Pliskova), but she did not make much of an impact for the rest of the year, failing to reach another quarter final before the injury-enforced closure to her season in August.
Tsurenko had peaked at a career-high No. 23 in February last year, but her ranking kept falling for the rest of the season, leaving her at No. 73 at the end of the year. She opened 2020 with a 6-3 6-3 loss to Elise Mertens in Shenzhen, meaning she heads into the Australian Open still seeking her first win since she defeated Yafan Wang in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington last July.
Tsurenko has an unremarkable record at the Australian Open- she has made the second round in each of the last two seasons, but that was preceded by four successive first round exits. Her best result was reaching the third round in 2013.
Ashleigh Barty vs Lesia Tsurenko Prediction
Tsurenko has got a very useful resume- she boasts eight top-ten wins, is a four-time WTA titlist, and a Grand Slam quarter-finalist from the 2018 US Open. The world No. 120 also has a winning record over Ashleigh Barty in WTA main draw matches, having beaten the Australian in Brisbane in 2018. However, she has not been playing in recent months, while Barty, on the other hand, has grown to become the best player in the world. The world No. 1 should move into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday night.