World No 1 Barty crashes out in Brisbane ahead of Australian Open

Barty, playing her first WTA tournament in Australia as the world number one, made too many unforced errors against an opponent at the top of her game.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia reacts after missing a point during her match against Jennifer Brady of the United States at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane.   -  AP

American qualifier Jennifer Brady claimed the first top 10 win of her career with an upset 6-4, 7-6(4) straight sets victory over world number one Ash Barty on Thursday to advance to the Brisbane International quarterfinals.

With the tournament moving into the Pat Rafter Arena at the Queensland Tennis Centre following the end of the ATP Cup group stage, Brady had to contend with not only the Australian top seed, who was given a bye to the last-16, but also a vociferous home crowd.

Barty, who had never dropped a set to Brady in two encounters last year, was unable to muster a single break point while the American needed only one break of serve in the opening set before sealing the result in the second set tiebreak.

“I'm very happy to get the win,” Brady said in a post-match interview. “Ash is obviously a great player and a great person.

“It's a little bit surreal. I'm super stoked and I'm shaking a little bit, but I really played well today.”

Barty, who exited the tournament in the first round in 2018, struck more winners than Brady but the 16 unforced errors opened the door for her American opponent who wrapped up the match in 91 minutes.

Brady, who beat Maria Sharapova in the first round after coming through three qualifiers, became the fourth American to qualify for the quarterfinals after Madison Keys, Alison Riske and Danielle Collins.

Credit where due

“Jen was in control of the match -- she was in the centre of the court being the aggressor and I think you have to give credit where credit's due,” Barty, who practised with Brady early this week, said.

“She came through qualifying, but she's got a ranking that's kind of well below what a lot of people give her credit for.

“She's playing some exceptional tennis, so I certainly can't take that away from her. She played a great match today and deserved to win.”

Gauff bows out

Teen prodigy Coco Gauff was knocked out of the WTA Auckland Classic on Thursday when she was outsmarted by German Laura Siegemund in the second round.

The promoters’ hopes of a dream quarterfinal between Gauff and the queen of the court Serena Williams fell apart when Siegemund fought back from a set down to triumph 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

 

As Gauff showed signs of being rattled, she lost the steeliness she showed when she burst into the limelight last year with a win over Venus Williams as she worked her way deep into the Wimbledon singles.

Against Siegemund, she finished with seven double faults against her name and 49 unforced errors.

(With inputs from AFP)