Barty bounced in final after 18-game deciding set
It wasn't the Barty Party they were hoping for, but it was still a contest worth celebrating.
Having been knocked out of the Brisbane International singles tournament in a shock second-round loss to qualifier Jennifer Brady, world No. 1 Ash Barty also came up short in the doubles final at Pat Rafter Arena.
Top seeds Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh defeated Barty and her Dutch partner Kiki Bertens 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 10-8 in a thrilling 102-minute decider that gave the crowd more than their money's worth.
"It was a really entertaining match for us and I could feel that the people enjoyed it a lot," she said. "I was very surprised that so many people came today - well, not surprised because Ash was playing - but every day there were a lot of people and it was a lot of fun to play."
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For Barty, the doubles final provided a chance to salvage something from what had been a disappointing week and gain some much needed on-court conditioning.
"Doubles has always helped my singles and vice versa throughout my whole career," she said. "I've had different phases where my doubles has been going better, my singles has been going better, but they definitely help each other hand-in-hand."
While she is expected to now relink with her regular doubles partner Coco Vanderweghe - with whom she won the 2018 US Open - she thanked Bertens for agreeing to partner her "in my beautiful hometown of Brisbane" for the first tournament of the season.
"It was a hell of a match and it sets the scene for the rest of the year," she said.
Bertens and Barty took control early, breaking their opponents' serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. They remained in control to win the set in 30 minutes.
The 62-minute second set was a see-sawing affair that featured six breaks of serve, including four on the trot.
In a tense tie-breaker, which included a 30-shot rally decided by a Bertens winner, it was the Czech Republic's Strycova and Hsieh, of Chinese Taipei, who prevailed 9-7 after Bertens and Barty had earlier held a match point.
A first-to-10 super tiebreaker was needed to decide the outcome, with reigning Wimbledon champions Strycova and Hsieh winning it 10-8.
It was their sixth title together and their teamwork was evident as they made just 20 unforced errors in comparison to 36 by Barty and Bertens who had played only five sets together prior to the match.
Making the final took Barty's overall tournament prizemoney to $A64,400, which she will donate to the Red Cross bushfire relief appeal.
"With everything going on around the country right now, all in all it makes me bloody proud to be an Aussie," she said.