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Ash Barty does not lose a game as she begins Australian Open campaign in ruthless fashion

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Women’s world number one Ash Barty has sent a statement to her rivals with a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Danka Kovinić in the first round of the Australian Open.

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 number 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 Kovinić, 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.

Kovinić did not 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 Kovinić to win a game.

Kovinić 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, coming here and enjoying it. It’s impossible not to enjoy a night session on this beautiful court.”

Elsewhere, Samantha Stosur won the battle of Australian tennis generations, holding off local youngster Destanee Aiava 6-4, 6-4 to open what could be her last Open with a win.

It was Stosur’s first win in the opening round in Melbourne since 2015.

“I’m really happy to get through tonight’s match, very happy with the way I played and moving on to the second round for the first time in a while,” Stosur said.

“So it’s exciting for me.”

Meanwhile, Thanasi Kokkinakis 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 major in six years.

He faces a tall order to advance from the second round, with Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas his opponent.

Tsitsipas scored a comfortable 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 win over former top-10 player Gilles Simon on Rod Laver Arena.

The news was not as positive for Kokkinakis’s countryman Jordan Thompson, who was forced to retire with a neck injury in his clash with 24th seed Casper Ruud.

Ruud was leading 6-3, 6-3, 2-1 when Thompson withdrew from the match.

 

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