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Blazing Barty ready to turn up the heat

Tennis

A forecast 38-degree day doesn’t scare Ashleigh Barty, who wants her second-round match to be scheduled during the afternoon as she looks to blaze a path through the Australian Open field.

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Barty can look forward to a second-round date with red-hot Italian Camila Giorgi on Thursday after overcoming Aryna Sabalenka in three sets.

The Belarusian took the fight to Australia’s women’s No.1, hitting 43 winners but losing 6-7 (7-2) 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

Barty credits her second-round appearance to her determination to weather the storm.

“I knew she had a big game, is very much a first-strike player,” she said.

“It took me a while to sort of get used to her patterns, understand where she wanted to hit the ball.

“I felt like I had my plans in place. I knew if I hung around long enough, I’d be able to get into the match, work it into my favour.”

Giorgi has a similar game style to Sabalenka, with an eye for a winner that can see her fortunes both surge and slump.

There’s been more of the former this season, with a run from qualifying to the semi-finals in Sydney, where Barty made the final.

The 21-year-old hopes that, having beaten one heavy-hitter, another won’t be so tough.

“It’s very pleasing to come through that in such a tricky match,” she said.

“It could have easily gone the other way.

“I felt like the experiences and the matches I went through last year really held me in good stead tonight.

“(Against Giorgi) it’s going to be important for me to move well, switch on right from the first ball, be ready to dig out some tough balls early.”

And that’s where the weather can help.

The Queensland-based Barty will embrace the opportunity to put her fitness to the test.

Put to her that no one likes those conditions, Barty smiled and said “Aussies do”.

“Absolutely. I love it. I’m from Brisbane (and it’s) nice and hot up there. 38 would be perfect,” she said.

– AAP

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