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Barty pushed by Romanian, but victorious after long lay-off

Indeed, the scoreline looks like Barty won in a canter, but she was forced to work quite hard through the whole match.

There were cobwebs too, with Barty double faulting twice in the final game of the match, and once on match point.

“I think overall I felt pretty good,” Barty said.

“I think Ana did an exceptional job in making me play to a very high standard. I knew right from the first point I was going to have to be ready tonight and switched on straight away.

“That was really nice to have that challenge straight away. Obviously happy to come through reasonably unscathed and roll with the momentum pretty well.”

Barty will next play Czech world No.52 Marie Bouzkova in the round of 16. Bouzkova defeated Spain’s world No.103 Aliona Bolsova 6-3, 6-7, 62 in the round of 32.

Barty’s win came after the 2020 Australian Open winner – and the woman who beat Barty in last year’s semi-final – Sofia Kenin beat Camilla Giorgi.

The Italian Giorgi retired hurt with a leg injury after the first set, which she lost 7-5.

“I’m happy with the win, the way I played,” the world No.4 said.

“I started off pretty good obviously, just made a little bit too many unforced errors.

“Overall I’m happy with the way I played.”

Kenin’s Australian Open win was her first grand slam triumph, in a year that saw her also make the French Open final.

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World No.3 and 2019 Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka also won her first match at Melbourne Park for the year on Tuesday, beating France’s Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2.

Osaka said she had to overcome nerves to win the match.

“I was nervous the entire match,” Osaka said.

“There were moments where it was less and there were moments where it was more, but I felt like I was really, really nervous just going, like walking onto the court.

“Even until the very last point, I think I was just thinking – I don’t know, the first match you come back and especially in a grand slam environment, it’s definitely very hard.”

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