Why Barty reminds Hewitt of Federer
Lleyton Hewitt likens Ash Barty's ability to manoeuvre opponents into uncomfortable positions to nemesis Roger Federer's matchwinning brilliance, predicting the Queenslander will benefit from a first-round Australian Open scare.
The most recent local to reach the Melbourne Park singles final, 2005 finalist Hewitt sensed Barty would have a tough time against Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.
Former world No.1 Hewitt now expects Barty to thrive after her first-round test.
"Ash came through some tough matches in Adelaide, too, and that will help her here," he said.
"The women's draw is wide open, but she obviously has the weapons to do well here.
"Her forehand is her biggest weapon and the other thing she does - and it's what Roger Federer does - is put her opponents into uncomfortable positions on the court.
"She's got more variety than any other player on the women's side. That makes it uncomfortable for her opponents.
"She's similar to Roger going back a bit, she puts players into places on the court they're not used to."
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Barty turned potential disaster into a runaway 5-7 6-1 6-1 triumph with trademark guile and tenacity.
"Yes, it was disappointing to not start as well as I would have liked," she said.
"All in all, I think it was really nice to be able to tighten the screws, run away with it in the second and third.
"I think it was important for me to try and bring it back to my side a little bit more, play more my style of tennis. I was able to do that in the second and the third."
Barty will next Slovenia's Polona Hercog, who defeated Swede Rebecca Peterson 6-3 6-3 in a rain-delayed contest.
French Open champion Barty acknowledges the challenges of performing at home, especially on a day when rain made the player facilities more congested than usual.
"Slams always feel like there's a lot of chaos going because there's so many people," she said.
"It's busy with singles and doubles players, mixed players, families, coaches, everyone underneath. It's just chaos.
"When you're able to separate that from when you step on the court is when you can do a little bit better, play a little bit better, feel a little bit more comfortable."
"I feel like we've been able to do that better and better with each slam that I've played. It's an experience thing. You have to learn how to deal with it, but it's getting better."