World No.1 Ash Barty began the proceedings on centre court on Day 4 in style as she raced past Russian Anna Blinkova to enter the third round of Wimbledon 2021. The Australian needed 90 minutes for her straight sets 6-4,6-3 victory over Blinkova. There were doubts over Barty’s form as she was playing competitive grass court tennis after 2 years but she didn’t disappoint.
Barty looked solid right from the start. She was serving well and was hitting winners at the right time. But Blinkova was matching her in longer rallies by keeping the ball low. Barty seemed frustrated at times due to her movement but managed to get a decisive break. She went on to win the set 6-4.
Although the scoreline won’t suggest, but the second set was tighter than the first. Barty seemed to be running away with a break early on but Blinkova made an inspired comeback and levelled things up. The games started getting longer as both players were pushing each other to the limit. Eventually Barty took a break’s lead and broke Blinkova in a dramatic 9th game to claim the set 6-3.
‘Wimbledon wouldn’t have been the same without you’: Ash Barty thanks fans after her win
In the on court interview, Barty expressed her love for grass court tennis and wished it would be year long. “I feel like for me, grass court tennis is the real deal. I wish we could play the whole year on it. It’s a traditional surface and I just love it. It felt like a long two years and I definitely enjoyed being back on it,” she said.
She then went on to praise her opponent. “Yeah, incredibly so. I had to do a lot of homework and figure out her game. But she played a great match. A few points here and there and it could’ve been a different story. I’m just happy to be out there and have another opportunity to play.”
She also spoke about going deep in the tournament. “Hopefully! I’ll try and we’ll see how it goes. Its been a great year so far for everyone, the fans, its certainly nice to have you guys in the stands. Wimbledon wouldn’t have been the same without you.”