Nature Valley Classic - Day One
Nature Valley Classic - Day One

Barty maintains her groove ahead of Wimbledon

Having already returned to the court in a doubles match, Ash Barty has played her first singles match on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon - with predictable results. SUBSCRIBE TO READ THE FULL STORY

The French Open champion fended off Croat Donna Vekic 6-3 6-4 in a dominant first-round showing at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

The Queenslander needed only 71 minutes to dispatch Vekic, last week's Nottingham runner-up.

Making the transition from Roland Garros clay to British grass with ease, Barty took little time to find her groove.

A lapse at 5-2 in the second set when serving for the match was virtually the only glitch after taking a week off to celebrate her maiden grand slam victory.

"It felt really good today, it was the perfect first test today and it was nice and clean," Barty said.

"Nice to come out and dust off the game.

"It's definitely nice to be back playing. It was nice to have two or three days off."

Barty has the chance to take over as world No 1 if she either wins the title or reaches the final - and Osaka fails to reach the semis.

US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka currently leads Barty by 252 rankings points.

Barty faces American Jennifer Brady in the second round.

News Corp Australia


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