MELBOURNE (AP) — Ash Barty took center stage as the Australian Open marked First Peoples Day for the first time.
However, his appearance did not last long.
Barty, the highest-ranked tennis player, has indigenous heritage, and her second-round match at Melbourne Park’s main stadium featured on Wednesday in a program dedicated to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
So Barty entered the court early and left shortly after. In just 52 minutes, she overwhelmed Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1, a tennis player from the qualifying phase and placed at number 142 in the ranking.
“It was really nice… It was nice for me to participate in a way that I feel more comfortable with,” Barty said. “On a day when we’re looking to unite the culture… it was really nice for me to go out and enjoy this. I was very lucky to play today.”
Barty extended his streak of games in which he has held serve to 48. He advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the sixth consecutive year.
The 2021 Wimbledon and 2019 French Open champion lost just one game in her first-round match, which also took less than an hour. Since 1978, no Australian has won the Grand Slam tournament held in her country.
Barty’s next challenge will be against another Italian, Camila Giorgi (seeded 30th). If she works out that compromise, she could run into defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round.
In the first match of the day at the Rod Laver Arena, the Spanish Paula Badosa (8th) defeated the Italian Martina Trevisan 6-0, 6-3.
Badosa clinched the title at last week’s preparatory tournament in Sydney, stringing together wins in Australia for the first time.
In other second-round duels that opened Day 3 in Melbourne, Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion here, crushed Jil Teichmann 6-1, 6-2. She will face Elina Svitolina (15th), who was leading 6-3, 5-7, 5-1, when Harmony Tan left her match.
Jessica Pegula (21st) defeated fellow American Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4. Also American Madison Keys triumphed 6-2, 7-5 over Romanian Jaqueline Adina Cristian.