For world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, it was a dog’s breakfast: scrappy but ultimately fulfilling.
Barty admits she never rose to great heights during Tuesday’s comeback win against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Adelaide International WTA tournament.
But the Australian found beauty in winning ugly in her 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory at Memorial Drive in her first appearance of the tournament.
“Those tough wins, those wins when you’re not necessarily playing your best tennis, I think they always make you feel pretty good deep down, knowing that you can scrap out of it and get out of it,” Barty said.
The top seed, gifted a first-round bye, initially struggled in the second-round fixture against the world No.31 Pavlyuchenkova.
Barty initially battled for timing and fluency – similar to last week when a first-round loser to American world No.53 Jennifer Brady in her first outing of the summer at the Brisbane International.
After dropping the first set in Adelaide, Barty discovered increasing touch ahead of the Australian Open from next Monday in Melbourne.
“It was just a work in progress,” she said.
“It was just me finding the middle of the racquet, finding my groove … obviously it’s natural to find your rhythm and find your groove the more matches you play.”
Barty will next play either Australian qualifier Arina Rodionova or Czech eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova in a Thursday quarter-final.
Rodionova on Tuesday caused a boilover with a trouncing of American Sloane Stephens.
World No. 201 Rodionova triumphed 6-2 6-2 over Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion now ranked 25 in the world.
The victory was among the biggest in the career of the 30-year-old Rodionova, who endured two three-set wins in qualifying to reach the main draw.
“I was pretty relaxed today,” Rodionova said.
“From winning those two really tough matches in qualifying, I feel like I deserve to be in the main draw.”
There was no upset for another Australian, Ajla Tomljanovic, who competed hard but couldn’t take all her chances against world No.4 Simona Halep.
Tomljanovic fought back from breaks in both sets but still went down 6-4 7-5.
Halep, the second seed, moves through to a quarter-final and will play the winner of the Aryna Sabalenka-Bernarda Pera clash.
Sabalenka battled back from 5-3 down in the third to edge Su-Wei Hsieh 5-7 6-1 7-5 while qualifier Pera scored an upset 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova.
Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon’s first-round match ended in a loss to German Julia Goerges, who prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 as Vondrousova cruised to a 6-3 6-0 win over German Tatjana Maria.