Ashleigh Barty has barely raised a sweat in storming into Wimbledon’s third round with a crushing straight-sets victory over Alison Van Uytvanck on Thursday night.
Australia’s world No.1 needed less than an hour to cast aside Van Uytvanck 6-1 6-3 to extend her winning streak to 14 matches and further fuel hopes of landing back-to-back majors.
Barty next plays either British wildcard Harriet Dart or Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia on Saturday with a huge opportunity to embark on another deep grand slam run.
She means business.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 4, 2019
Two matches into her campaign and the French Open champion’s draw is already opening up like it did in Paris.
The shock first-round exits of 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and world No.22 Donna Vekic have left Barty with a seed-free passage through to at least the second week.
Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic looms as Barty’s highest-ranked possible last-16 opponent before a potential heavyweight quarter-final showdown with either seven-time champion Serena Williams or German titleholder Angelique Kerber.
All the talk after last Friday’s draw was of Barty’s quarter from hell featuring four former world No.1s and four former All England Club champions, among a total of seven major winners in her section.
But four grand slam champions from Barty’s pocket – Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and fellow Australian Sam Stosur – have already bombed out.
Barty was also slated to strike a succession of big guns in Paris, but her supposed perilous draw never eventuated as the 23-year-old marched to Roland Garros glory only needing to beat one seed en route to the title – world No.14 Madison Keys in the quarter-finals.
“It was still tough. It just wasn’t tough by what everyone expected and spoke about in regards to seedings,” Barty said.
Van Uytvanck reached the final 16 at Wimbledon last year and loomed as a dangerous opponent for the top seed.
Barty, though, assumed control from the outset, breaking the Belgian twice to charge to a 5-0 lead.
She wrapped up the first set in 25 minutes before breaking Van Uytvanck for a third time early in the second set.
When landing her first serve Barty conceded just five points all match and dropped serve only once – when trying to close out the contest at 5-2 in the second set.
She hit 14 winners and committed a meagre seven unforced errors in matching her Wimbledon-best run to the third round from last year.
“Really clean match overall, not too many errors across the whole match,” Barty said.
“Bit of a blemish trying to serve out the match, but really happy with today.
“What happens in the rest of the draw is up to everyone else. It’s not up to me.”
Barty has won her past 18 sets, last dropping a set in her French Open semi-final comeback victory over American Amanda Anisimova.
Earlier, Bernard Tomic copped one of the heaviest fines in tennis history, being docked GBP45,000 ($80,460) for not giving his best efforts during a lame first-round loss at Wimbledon.
Tomic lost 6-2 6-1 6-4 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 58 minutes – the shortest men’s singles match at the All England Club in 15 years.
The fine represents Tomic’s entire first-round prize money.
“All players are expected to perform to a professional standard in every grand slam match,” a statement from the club said.
“With respect to first-round performance, if in the opinion of the referee the player did not perform to the required professional standard, the referee may determine that the player be subject to a fine of up to first-round prize money.”
Tomic is expected to appeal, having denied not trying when grilled about his performance during his post-match press conference.
“I think I played as best as I could. It’s just I played terrible. And he served 24 aces or…,” Tomic said after Tsonga, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, fired down 21 aces in his 12 service games.
Two years ago, Tomic was fined more than $20,000 and dumped by his racquet sponsor after admitting he was “a little bored” and feigned injury during a similarly meek first-round Wimbledon loss to Mischa Zverev.
It is believed Tomic’s latest fine is the biggest for an on-court offence.