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Lightning round: Barty delivers double bagel in warning to title rivals

The Australian utilised her best weapon – the backhand slice – to work her way into rallies and punished Kovinic with forehand and backhand winners whenever the Montenegrin dropped the ball short.

Barty is easily her hardest marker but even she admits it was her best start to a grand slam.

Ash Barty finished off Danka Kovinic in just 44 minutes on Tuesday night.

Ash Barty finished off Danka Kovinic in just 44 minutes on Tuesday night.Credit:Eddie Jim

“Scoreline wise, yes, but I think the processes and the things that we go through before a match and trying to execute – that’s always the challenge – and I had that spot on, which is really pleasing,” Barty said when asked if she could recall a better start to a major.

“And to be able to roll with that momentum the whole match – it was really good.”

Barty’s level since returning from a year away from the game has been remarkable.

Other players in her situation have taken time to find their feet over the past fortnight. The 24-year-old has added more strings to her bow.

Ash Barty was dominant in the first round.

Ash Barty was dominant in the first round.Credit:Eddie Jim

“I know that deep down, my team and I have done the work and we have earned the right to play at this level,” she said.

“I think there is always a bit of the unknown at the start of a season. Particularly after such a long break. Knowing that there is every chance it’s not going to be exactly where we want it, straight away.

“But that’s the challenge. Coming out here and trying to bring my best stuff on that given day – knowing we’ve done the work during preseason and we’ve done the work over the years.

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“I feel comfortable in my own skin to go out there and find a way. Whether the tennis is great or it’s not, I know I have other weapons I can go to. Not just hitting the tennis ball.”

Barty’s performance was as close to perfect as any player could possibly hope for but that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement.

“We will still look at the match, still chat about the match and work on the little things that we do regardless of whether it’s a win or a loss or what the scoreline is,” she said. “We come back tomorrow and we go again.”

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