World No.1 Ash Barty warms up for Adelaide International singles assault with doubles win alongside Storm Sanders

Ash Barty hasn’t played her first singles match in Adelaide yet but she’s already off to a great start at the event

World No.1 Ash Barty warmed up for her season-opening singles match on Wednesday night with an emphatic doubles triumph in Adelaide.

Barty and countrywoman Storm Sanders dropped only seven points in the opening set before toughing out a 6-0 7-6(7-4) victory over US Open doubles finalists Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally.

The Australian champion had a first-round singles bye but plays Gauff again on Wednesday night after the 17-year-old blitzed qualifier Ulrikke Eikeri 6-2 6-1 earlier on Tuesday.

Their only prior clash was in last year’s Italian Open quarter-finals, when Barty retired mid-match because of an arm injury despite being a set up.

That same injury caused Barty to withdraw from her second-round French Open contest only weeks later, ending her title defence in Paris.

Ash Barty and Storm Sanders joined forces to win their doubles opener at the Adelaide International. Picture: Getty Images
Ash Barty and Storm Sanders joined forces to win their doubles opener at the Adelaide International. Picture: Getty Images

Some of Barty’s top rivals have made it clear this summer that they don’t fear the Australian the same way they did Serena Williams in her prime.

None of that bothers Barty, who is working hard to improve her game and strengthen her hold on the world’s No.1 ranking, which she has held for 109 consecutive weeks.

That is the fifth-longest such streak in WTA history.

“I want to try and make sure there are no holes in my game,” Barty said on Monday.

“I’m just trying to be the most complete player I can be and bring the best out of myself.”

US Open champion Sam Stosur and her Chinese partner Zhang Shuai progressed to the second round at Melbourne Summer Set Two.

Originally published as World No.1 Ash Barty warms up for Adelaide International singles assault with doubles win alongside Storm Sanders

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