Top-ranked Barty cruises in 1st clay event since 2019

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - High-ranking Ashleigh Barty easily won her first clay court game in two years and passed Japan's Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 at the WTA's Volvo Car Open on Wednesday.
Barty, fresh from a championship run at the Miami Open for the past two weeks, had little trouble moving from hard courts to clay. She won 10 of the last 11 games in her first game on the slower surface since winning the 2019 French Open.
"There was undoubtedly an adjustment phase," said Barty. “It was a very quick turnaround from Miami, only had a couple of hours of training. I honestly just hoped I didn't trip and fall over trying to slide. But it came back naturally. I'm really excited to be with her again, especially in Charleston, but back on the sand. "
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Barty will aim for the quarterfinals when she faces American Shelby Rogers on Thursday. Rogers recovered from a loss and defeated 13-year-old Amanda Anisimova from the USA 1: 6, 7: 5, 6: 3.
Not all tall seeds made the transition as smoothly as the Australian with the best seeds. The runner-up American Sofia Kenin fell in three sets to Lauren Davis of the USA, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Kenin, fourth in the world and former Australian Open champion, was tied in the last set before several mistakes cost her the match. Kenin prolonged two shots in the final game to send Davis into the next round.
Davis said she struggled with her serve early on before slowing down and thinking about her game.
"I found she wasn't too much of a fan of tall balls," said Davis. “So I really took advantage of that. Really happy with the way I put myself together and handled the situation. "
The fifth Belinda Bencic from Switzerland lost in three sets against the Spaniard Paula Badosa 6: 2, 6: 7 (2), 6: 1. And No. 7 Elise Mertens from Belgium fell to the French Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3.
Among the seeded players was the 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, who led the Russian Liudmila Samsonova 4: 6, 6: 1, 6: 4.
Former US Open Champion Sloane Stephens defeated 2019 tournament winner Madison Keys to finish eighth 6-4, 6-4.
Stephens, ranked 57th, has won two games here - the first time in her last nine tournaments that she has done it.
"I think things can't be bad forever. I think once you have that good swing in tennis the games come quickly and you get a bit of confidence," said Stephens. "Of course satisfied with today's win and hopefully on the upswing."
The Volvo Car Open, which traditionally marks the start of the clay court season, was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Ashleigh Barty
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