World No. 1 Ash Barty has gotten her Italian Open campaign off to a flyer, defeating Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets on Wednesday.
The Australian has now won 10 of her 11 matches on clay this season in preparation for the French Open, which gets underway later this month.
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Barty was in trouble early when Shvedova broke serve and took a 4-2 lead in the opening set, but the 25-year-old Aussie showed her class by winning the next four games to clinch the set.
It was all one-sided from there on out, with Barty comprehensively claiming the second set 6-1 and setting up a round of 16 clash against either Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova or France’s Caroline Garcia.
From a break down in the first set, Ash Barty wins 10 of the last 11 games to beat Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-4, 6-1 and reach the last 16 in Rome. Awaits Kudermetova or Garcia.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 12, 2021
Despite her red hot form on clay surfaces, Barty has downplayed her chances at the French Open.
“I would like to think after a couple of years experience playing on it, more matches, playing in different clay and different conditions (that I’m better),” Barty said on Tuesday.
“I’d love to say I’ve learnt more and been able to kind of hone my craft more on clay but in my eyes I certainly don’t go into Paris as the favourite, not by any means.
“I think there are some exceptional clay courters, some of the best we have ever seen probably across our sport that are playing at the moment so I go into it with a really clean slate, with fresh eyes.
“I’ll be trying to do the best I can whether that’s a first-round, a quarter or a final, whatever it is. It’s about kind of going out there and just doing the best that I can for that match, and if the results come, they come, and if they don’t then I won’t lose any sleep over it.”
Originally published as Barty’s red-hot form ahead of French Open