‘I was just hoping I didn’t trip and fall over,’ says Ashleigh Barty after successful clay return

Ashleigh Barty applauding

Nearly two full years after winning the French Open, Ashleigh Barty finally played on clay again and it was a victorious return for the world No 1 as she won her first-round clash at the Charleston Open.

Fresh from successfully defending her Miami Open title on the hard courts in Florida on Saturday, Barty made a smooth transition to the red dirt as she brushed aside Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour.

The 2019 French Open champion won the final four games of the first set, breaking twice, while she broke three times in the second set.

“There was an adjustment period, without a doubt,” Barty said. “It was a very quick turnaround from Miami, just had a couple of hours of practice.

“I was, honestly, just hoping I didn’t trip and fall over trying to slide. But it came back quite naturally. So really happy to be back here, particularly in Charleston, but back on clay.”

Next up is Shelby Rogers Rogers, who beat fellow American and 17th seed Amanda Anisimova 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Eighth seed Madison Keys crashed out though as the American was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

“I think that I executed my game well,” Stephens said after the match. “I served well, better than I have been, and I thought I just stuck with the game plan and just went out there, like, ‘This is what I need to do.’ I stuck with it, and I’m pleased with that.”

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