Top seed Ashleigh Barty knows improvements are needed

World number one Ashleigh Barty was happy to come through a tough second-round match with Anna Blinkova at Wimbledon despite not being at her best.

The 25-year-old struggled on serve in a 6-4 6-3 win where she was broken twice in the first set before she fought back to triumph in one hour and 30 minutes.

Eventually Barty’s class and attacking intent paid dividends as she reached round three at the All England Club for a third straight tournament despite nine double faults which were put down to “a few technical things” by the Australian.

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Barty, who will face the unseeded Katerina Siniakova next, said: “There were a few things that didn’t feel quite right but that is half the battle in sport – being able to find a way when it is not feeling that great.

“I felt like when my back was against the wall, I was able to bring the good stuff and it just wasn’t quite there all the time. We have another opportunity now to go out there on the practice court and work on it to bring some good stuff in the third round.”

This was only Barty’s second match since she retired in round two at Roland Garros with a hip injury and yet the movement of the 2019 French Open winner looked fine throughout a close clash on Centre Court.

While 33 winners were landed by the top seed, there were also 33 unforced errors but she continued her pursuit of following in the footsteps of Evonne Goolagong, who won the first of two Wimbledon singles titles in 1971 at the age of 19.

Ashleigh Barty in action
Ashleigh Barty is into the third round at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)

To mark the 50th anniversary of that triumph, Barty – who like her mentor is an indigenous Australian – is wearing an outfit based on the famous dress worn by her compatriot during her maiden title victory.

Asked about the significance of that success, Barty added: “It’s a legacy of opportunity in my opinion because I feel the way she approached her tennis and the matches at Wimbledon, it was courageous and stepping into the unknown.

“There was no one who had done it before from our heritage and I think for her to be the first one to pave the path was really showing no matter what anyone says, you can go out there and believe in your dreams. Put them out to the universe and you never know what can happen if you are willing to work and go after it.”

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Since Barty flourished at Wimbledon in 2015 to seal the junior competition, she has been earmarked as a future winner of the Championships and the stars are starting to align having made the fourth round only once before two years ago.

Rivals Naomi Osaka and defending champion Simona Halep were already absent from the main draw while Serena Williams and third seed Elina Svitolina have exited the competition this week.

But Barty insisted her full focus is on Siniakova, who she has never faced in a singles match, and not the opportunity starting to present itself as she looks to remain in the hunt for a second grand-slam title.

“It is not something I can control,” she said. “Speculating now is a waste of time and it is certainly something I am not going to do, to be looking at the draw. I never have and never will.

“Obviously those that are injured, I really hope they get healthy and they are out playing soon so it is a waste of time to think about that.

“I feel good and it is certainly nice to have another opportunity in the third round here at Wimbledon.

“I am looking forward to another challenge of facing Katerina, it is a tough one but I am looking forward to it.

“It is different challenges against every opponent and all I can do is prepare for that opponent as best I can and see what happens.”