Ash Barty’s projected Australian Open final opponent will enter the grand slam without a summer win following another flop in Adelaide.
- Aryna Sabalenka has suffered back-to-back losses in the space of a week
- Her rival Ash Barty is in winning form
- Barty has declared she has had enough court time ahead of the Open
World number two Aryna Sabalenka’s Open preparations lie in tatters after a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 first-round loss to lowly-ranked Swede Rebecca Peterson on Tuesday.
Sabalenka’s defeat followed a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 loss to Slovenia’s world number 100 Kaja Juvan in her season opener in the South Australian capital last week.
While Barty is a perfect seven from seven this year after sweeping to the singles and doubles titles at the first of successive Adelaide International tournaments, Sabalenka hasn’t won in more than two months.
After failing to make the semi-finals of last year’s season-ending championships in Mexico following losses to Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa in the group stages, Sabalenka arrived in Australia needing precious court time.
Instead, the 23-year-old will head to Melbourne Park seriously underdone.
Barty has no such concerns.
The world number one opted out of this week’s Sydney Tennis Classic, preferring to fly straight to Melbourne to recharge and fine-tune her game after improving her record against top-10 rivals to 17-1 in the past 12 months.
Barty beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek and world number 14 Elena Rybakina in successive matches, all in straight sets, before teaming with fellow Australian Storm Sanders to also win the doubles in Adelaide.