Ash Barty was front and center when the Australian Open celebrated its inaugural First Nations Day.
Albeit not for very long. The top-ranked Barty has Indigenous heritage, and her second-round match
at Melbourne Park’s main stadium Wednesday was among the features of a program dedicated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia.
She was on and off the court quickly, beating 142nd-ranked qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1 in 52 minutes.
“On a day when we’re bringing culture together … I was really fortunate to be able to play today,” Barty said.
The 2021 Wimbledon and 2019 French Open champion is bidding to become the first Australian woman since 1978 to win the country’s Grand Slam tournament.
Next up for Barty will be a match against 30th-seeded Camila Giorgi of Italy. Win that and Barty could end up in a fourth-round showdown against defending champion Naomi Osaka.
In the day’s opening match at Rod Laver
Arena, eighth-seeded Paula Badosa earned a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan.
In other early second-round results on Day3, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka beat Jil Teichmann 6-1, 6-2 and will next face No.15-seeded Elina Svitolina, who was leading 6-3, 5-7, 5-1 when Harmony Tan retired from their second-round match. No.21 Jessica Pegula beat fellow American Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4, and Madison Keys had a 6-2, 7-5 win over Jaqueline Adina Cristian.
On the men’s side Wednesday, sixth-seeded Rafael Nadal defeated Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in a second-round match.
On Tuesday, five years later, five-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray finally won another match at the event.
Murray, playing thanks to a wild-card invitation as he continues his comeback from hip operations and thoughts of retirement, beat 21st-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to reach the second round.