Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ash Barty makes triumphant return to court after layoff, beats Ana Bogdan, Australian Open E! News UK

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World No. 1 Ash barty admitted she was “struggling” with her decision do not travel abroad for tournaments amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Barty showed little sign of rust in a relatively straightforward 6-3 6-3 win over Romania’s Ana Bogdan and spoke about the challenge of passing the majority of last year.

“I missed a lot. I struggled with the decision in my head for quite a while,” she said.

“For me, my health had to be a top priority, not only for me, but for my family and it shows how difficult it can be.

“I am grateful to be here and I am exceptionally proud to be Australian and to be on this beautiful ground again.”

Barty needed four match points to complete his victory over Bogdan, his first in competition in almost a year.

“I had so much fun there today. I missed you so much,” the top-ranked Australian told the crowd.

“It’s one of my favorite places to play around the world.”

Somewhere else, defending female champion Sofia Kenin had a sprinkling of fans in the stands to watch his first game at Melbourne Park since his Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open last year.

She loved it, saying she truly missed her fans, although she would have appreciated a longer stay on the Margaret Court Arena. Kenin had just won the first set 7-5 when Camila Giorgi retired from their match at the Yarra Valley Classic due to injury.

Kenin only won one match on her previous trips to Melbourne Park in 2018 and 2019 before winning her first major title last year, when she beat Ash Barty in the semi-final and Garbine Muguruza in the final . Kenin also reached the delayed French Open final, losing to first-time winner Iga Swiatek.

“Obviously it’s really special. Super happy to be here,” Kenin said of his return to Australia. “Trying to somehow deal with the emotions on the court. I feel like it’s going to be a bit of a roller coaster next Monday or Tuesday, every time I play. impression that you, the fans, will see a little more emotion. “

Third Naomi Osaka won their opener in the Gippsland Trophy, beating Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2.

Osaka, who won the US Open last year and the Australian Open in 2019, will face 371-ranked Katie Boulter, who toppled No 14 Coco Gauff, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 .

Kaia Kanepi beat 4th Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 2-6, 6-1, while fifth seed Johanna Konta and No.7 Elise Mertens also advanced.

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