Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(18) 🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty vs 🇧🇾 Aryna Sabalenka
A blockbuster opening round match at Melbourne Park on Tuesday sees two of the tours most promising young prospects go head-to-head for the very first time. Barty and Sabalenka both ended 2017 in the best form of their respective careers, both have started 2018 in good form. Barty reached the final in Sydney last week whilst Sabalenka reached back-to-back quarter-finals in Shenzhen and Hobart. Barty and Sabalenka both posses powerful games, it will be fascinating to see who comes up on top here.
Ash Barty will be competing at the Australian Open as the number 1 ranked Australian woman for the first time. A lot of pressure and expectation comes with this title, it will be interesting to see how Barty handles herself. Barty brings good form into her home Grand Slam having reached the Sydney International final last week, Barty’s first final on Australian soil. Barty claimed wins over Cepede Royg, Perez, Strycova and Gavrilova before succumbing to Kerber in straight sets in the final.
Aryna Sabalenka is a player on the rise. At the age of 19, Sabalenka has already caught the attention of the tennis world over the last few months. Sabalenka has made a good start to the season, reaching back-to-back quarter-finals. The Belarussian beat Niculescu and Kovinic in straight sets before losing to Simona Halep in straight sets in Shenzhen. In Hobart, Sabalenka beat Bouchard and Zhang in straight sets before succumbing to Lesia Tsurenko in an uncompetitive 2 set loss. Sabalenka has a huge game, her best is extremely good but she is still trying to find the right balance on court.
This will be the first meeting between the pair.