Sport Tennis Wimbledon 2019: Seven slammed for Ash Barty snub on another mixed night for Australia

Wimbledon 2019: Seven slammed for Ash Barty snub on another mixed night for Australia

Ash Barty endured a testing first-round match against Zheng Saisai on Tuesday. Photo: Getty
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Ashleigh Barty’s stylish opening to her Wimbledon campaign was overshadowed Tuesday night by Channel Seven’s decision to focus instead on the men’s match between Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson.

Newly-crowned world No 1 Barty was made to work hard by China’s No 43 Zheng Saisai before claiming a 6-4 6-2 win in little more than an hour on Court 1 at the All England Club.

But Seven, which broadcast Wimbledon exclusively on its standard definition Seven Two channel, devoted its coverage to the men’s matches for much of the time Barty was on court.

As the network chopped and changed between matches, the documentary series True Stories was aired on the main Seven channel.

The network was slammed by critics on social media for its programming decision, with ABC Executive Editor John Lyons tweeting: “Seven, there is something seriously wrong with your judgment.”

Lyons’ sentiments were echoed across social media.

Oblivious to the controversy back home, Barty extended her winning streak to 13 matches as she booked a date with Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, a 6-4 4-6 6-2 winner over dual grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

She was made to work at times for her win, particularly in the opening set, but closed out the win trademark efficiency.

“Really nice to come in here, get stuck into that first match,” Barty said.

“For me [being No.1], it’s a little bit irrelevant. The only pressure I have is what I put on myself, making sure I’m doing all the right things, preparing in the right way,” she added.

Kyrgios had to dig deep in his marathon, all-Australian first-round match against Thompson before winning 7-6 (4) 3-6 7-6 (10) 0-6 6-1.

After winning the first-set tiebreak, Kyrgios lost the second set and was down 5-4 in the third when his focus was transformed by an incorrect call.

But after venting his spleen briefly, the volatile Canberran served two aces to level the game at 5-5 before breaking the tenacious Thompson in the next game and eventually taking the set.

The fourth set was then taken by Thompson in just 17 minutes, but Kyrgios seemingly gained a second wind and a healthy dose of luck as he closed out the match.

Kyrgios will play the winner of the Rafael Nadal-Yuichi Sugita contest.

Earlier, Australia’s top men’s player Alex DeMinaur advanced to the second round with a 6-0 6-4 7-6 (7-5) win over Marco Cecchinato.

The No 25 seed, who hit 33 winners, next plays Steve Johnson.

John Millman hammered Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-3 6-4 and next plays either Argentine Guido Andreozzi or Serb Laslo Djere.

But Bernard Tomic, Matt Eben, Samantha Stosur and Arina Rodionova all followed Thompson out the exit gates.

Tomic surrendered 6-1 6-2 6-4 to dual semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Ebden was at least competitive in a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 loss to 24th seed Diego Schwartzman.

Stosur succumbed 6-2 7-5 to Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro and Rodionova’s run from qualifying ended in a 6-2 6-3 loss to Taylor Townsend.

-with AAP

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