Seven days after losing an Australian Open quarter-final, Barty was beaten by American Danielle Collins in the WTA tournament at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive.
Barty says she was simply outplayed by Collins, who prevailed 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday night as the Australian top seed’s title defence crashed at the first hurdle.
Barty took a wildcard entry to defend her Adelaide crown after her Australian Open loss last Wednesday to Karolina Muchova.
But the Queenslander, after being gifted a first-round bye, fell flat after promising starts to both sets against world No.37 Collins.
In the first set, Barty skipped to a 3-1 advantage but lost the following five games.
And the second followed a near-identical theme: Barty led 4-1 before Collins took the next five games.
“It’s disappointing to have two sets in a row where I went on a run of losing games,” Barty said.
“But also in that second set, I felt I got away from what was working on serve and just gave her an opportunity to get back in the match.”
Barty, after almost 12 months off the tour, has played 11 tournament games since returning to action 22 days ago.
Collins suggested the Australian was feeling fatigued, which Barty flatly rejected as a factor in her defeat.
“The court was exceptionally quick, probably the quickest I have ever played in Australia, and it took some time to adjust,” Barty said.
“Danielle was able to control the centre of the court, control the baseline and hold court position.
“And on a very quick court that is vital and she was able to get first strike in on most occasions.”
Barty became the latest in a series of seeds to fall on Wednesday to underdogs such as Australia’s Storm Sanders.
The world No. 292 Sanders ousted seventh-seed and world No.28 Yulia Putintseva, winning 6-4 5-7 6-1.
Putintseva joined sixth-seed Petra Martic and eighth-seed Wang Qiang in making second-round exits.
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