First set: Ash Barty* 6-1 Daria Gavrilova (denotes server) Gavrilova saves the first of two set points she faces here but Barty aces on the second and that’s that for the first set. The top seed, despite not really having hit her straps fully, claims it after just 27 minutes.
First set: Ash Barty 5-1 Daria Gavrilova* (denotes server) Barty’s sporting some heavy strapping on her left thigh, by the way, although she seems to be moving freely enough at this stage. And it’s certainly not affecting the scoreboard – the world No 1 breaks again. If there’s any consolation for Gavrilova at this point it’s that she has already surpassed the meagre 10 points managed by Danka Kovinić two days ago in Barty’s opening match.
First set: Ash Barty* 4-1 Daria Gavrilova (denotes server) Gavrilova clenches her fist after enjoying a big forehand winner, but she’s wide from a narrow angle at the net on the next point. Nevertheless she forces deuce and then saves game point with a huge, aggressive forehand – encouraging signs, if she can keep her radar in check. But she’s wide again soon after and Barty holds. Rather up-and-down play from both players so far and a pattern to the match has yet to emerge. Still, without setting the arena on fire yet, Barty holds a three-game advantage.
First set: Ash Barty 3-1 Daria Gavrilova* (denotes server) Gavrilova sends down her first ace of the game to level at 30-30 but she then offers Barty another break chance with a ball that lands just out at the baseline. And a double fault sees Barty break for a second time.
First set: Ash Barty* 2-1 Daria Gavrilova (denotes server) Barty double faults midway through this game, but she recalibrates and, after a forehand winner played across Gavrilova, she holds for the first time today as Gavrilova fires one wide.
First set: Ash Barty 1-1 Daria Gavrilova* (denotes server) Of course, there’s a completely different vibe on Rod Laver compared to last night’s raucous atmosphere for Nick Kyrgios. It’s all very sedate so far, but that should change as we move forward. Barty breaks back immediately as Gavrilova plays some loose shots of her own. Back on serve in the opener!
First set: Ash Barty* 0-1 Daria Gavrilova (denotes server) Oh dear, not the start the higher-ranked player wanted on her serve. Barty faces three break points after a couple of unforced errors and, despite responding with an ace to pull back to 15-40, another sloppy shot, into the net this time, gifts Gavrilova the opening game.
Barty and Gavrilova (Ash and Dash in case you weren’t aware) are out on court, warming up. Gavrilova is on her way back from injury, but Barty spoke before the match of the challenge she faces today.
“It will be a challenge,” Barty said. “I’ll enjoy it – I always enjoy testing myself against other Aussies.”
OK, we’re good to go. Barty with the ball in hand first. Ready? Play.
It’s not just about Barty today, of course. Up after this one on centre are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match-up sure to capture the local imagination (particularly in Melbourne’s Greek community). Then Coco Gauff plays fifth seed Elina Svitolina first up in the night session, followed by Rafael Nadal’s big win over Michael Mmoh. Sofia Kenin and Daniil Medvedev are also in action, along with a host of local hopes, including Alex De Minaur, Sam Stosur and Alexei Popyrin.
The reason for that rather brief preamble is that I’ve been caught somewhat on the hop, given the speed with which Karolína Plíšková ploughed through the end of the second set against Danielle Collins in the match just finished on Rod Laver Arena. After an evenly-matched first set, the sixth-seeded Czech took just 35 more minutes to complete a 7-5, 6-2 win over her American opponent. She moves into the third round against another Czech Karolína, Karolína Muchová.