Ash Barty has seen off a spirited challenge from teenage prodigy Clara Tauson to move into the US Open third round at Flushing Meadows.
There were glimpes of Barty’s first-round struggles against Vera Zvonareva before the world No.1 closed out a 6-1 7-5 win to book a date on Sunday with either Shelby Rogers or Sorana Cirstea.
Organisers were forced to delay the start of day four action hours after Hurricane Ida brought torrential rains and high winds to Flushing Meadows, flooding roads and interrupting one match that was being played under a roof.
The powerful storm led the National Weather Service to declare a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time in history, with at least 25 people killed.
Making her Open debut, Tauson came out intent on slowing Barty’s progress.
It took Barty 10 break points in a marathon 13-minute second game to break Tauson and stamp her authority.
The Wimbledon champion then raced to a 5-0 lead before the 18-year-old former world junior No.1 found her rhythm and range.
Just as she did against Zvonareva, Barty faltered trying to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set.
But she avoided a tiebreaker by breaking the Dane for a fifth time to clinch victory on her third match point.
“There’s room for improvement, without a doubt, but there’s room for improvement every single day,” Barty said after mixing 11 aces with two double faults and two dropped service games.
“Credit to her, she was a little bit more aggressive in that second set. I got a little bit passive and just let my energy drop and allowed her back in.
“We’ll go back and have a chat about the matches and, once we get back on the practice court, try and fix a few things up, trust myself and trying to continue to play how I want to play.”
Barty will return in two days attempting to reach the last 16 in New York for a third straight time.