Australia’s Ash Barty defeated the world no. 66, Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand in their opening round match on day one of the Australian Open. The world no. 15 quickly demolished her opponent in just 57 minutes, 6-2 6-2.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 14: Ashleigh Barty of Australia plays a forehand in her first round match against Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Kumkhum got an early lead in the first set, breaking in the second game to go 2-0 up. But Barty found her rhythm, winning the next six games to then win the set with an ace down the T.
The Australian was able to break in the first game of the second set, but Kumkhum instantly broke back when Barty hit the ball well long, to level the score at 1-1. Both each held a service game, and then Barty dominated once again, getting a double break and serving for the match. Barty won the match with a cross court forehand winner.
Despite the shaky start, Barty was able to reach her formidable Sydney International form, where she made the final, but lost to Petra Kvitova. On her path to the final, Barty defeated an array of top players including Jelena Ostapenko, Simona Halep, Elise Mertens and Kiki Bertens. Barty said in Sydney that she feels she is playing some of her best tennis, and is confident going into the first Grand Slam of the 2019 tennis season. When asked if she thinks she could win it this year she replied with,
“I’m in the draw, so why not?”
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 14: Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand shows appreication to the fans after being defeated in her first round match against Ashleigh Barty of Australia during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Following her victory over Kumkhum, Barty addressed her fans in the crowd at Margaret Court Arena, who had been singing Barty themed chants throughout the match.
“I had a sneaky look at the Barty Party Twitter page,” she said, “A few chants were pretty good.
“I think we need a few more than three, so you guys might have a bit of homework to do.”
In the second round on Wednesday, Barty will encounter China’s Yafan Wang for the first time. The Chinese beat Australian wildcard, Ellen Perez 6-4 6-0 in the first round.