Ash Barty has dismantled Danka Kovinic 6-0 6-0 to advance to the second round of the Australian Open on a great day for local players.
In a remarkable start to Tuesday night’s match at Rod Laver Arena, Barty won the first 16 points to race through the first set against the world No.82 in just 18 minutes.
The second set was just as brutal, with the result setting up a second-round clash with either fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova or Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.
It was hard not to feel sorry for Kovinic, who spent 20,160 minutes in hotel quarantine only for her Australian Open hopes to be dashed in a mere 44 minutes. She won just 10 points for the entire match, committing 28 unforced errors along the way.
Barty could do little wrong in a first-set romp.
Kovinic didn’t win her first point until the fifth game and she won just four points for the entire first set.
Barty was so dominant that the only true question was whether she would be able to inflict a double-bagel defeat by not allowing Kovinic to win a game.
Kovinic threatened on a couple of occasions to get on the board, but Barty’s class shone through each time to deny her.
The first-up display was a remarkable performance from Barty, who had been off the tennis tour for 11 months before returning for a recent Australian Open warm-up event.
“Absolutely, every single day,” Barty replied during her on-court interview when asked if she missed the sport.
“The competitor in me missed what this is all about, missed the last hour before we come out on the court when (my coach Craig Tyzzer) and I chat about how we’re going to try to dissect the match.
That’s what I miss the most – coming out here and enjoying that thrill of the fight.
“That’s what it’s all about is coming here and enjoying it. It’s impossible not to enjoy a night session on this beautiful court.”
Earlier, Samantha Stosur held off local youngster Destanee Aiava in their opening round clash at Melbourne Park to secure her first singles win since 2015.
Stosur, making her 19th and potentially last Open, overcame 20-year-old Aiava 6-4 6-4.
The 36-year-old took most of 2020 off after her partner Liz Astling gave birth to daughter Evie in June and hasn’t committed to another trip to Melbourne Park beyond this year.
After despairingly carrying the hopes of the nation for so long before handing over to Australia’s current world No.1 Ash Barty, Stosur looked relaxed out on John Cain Arena.
Bidding to improve on her career-best fourth-round showings in 2006 and 2010, the 2011 US Open champion said she felt her match went to plan.
“I felt I was a lot more consistent and controlled than last week,” Stosur said.
“I’m happy with that match and the way I played. I thought that I executed really well, which is all you can ask for.”
Stosur, the 2019 Australian Open women’s doubles champion, next faces American Jessica Pegula, who upset two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 7-5 6-4.
In the mens’ draw, Thanasi Kokkinakis has joined a growing band of local men in the Australian Open second round with a commanding win over South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon.
The 24-year-old South Australian, ranked 267th, thundered 19 aces in a powerful display that set the platform for his 6-4 6-1 6-1 victory – his first at his home grand slam in six years.
Injury-plagued Kokkinakis gained a wildcard for the tournament and joined compatriots Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popoyrin, among others, in advancing.