World No 1 Ashleigh Barty made a losing start to 2020, stunned by American giantkiller Jennifer Brady at the Brisbane International. The world No. 53 qualifier backed up her victory over Maria Sharapova on Tuesday to defeat Barty in straight sets on Pat Rafter Arena 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
The loss came after Barty had to wait until Thursday to begin her Australian summer, with the men’s ATP Cup having a mortgage on centre court earlier in the week.
It is the first time in three matches 24-year-old Brady has defeated Barty, and her first win over a top 10 opponent. Her baseline game was crucial to the win, swinging hard throughout with a rusty Barty unable to break the American’s rhythm.
Barty did not take Brady’s serve to a break point in the entire match and won just one point off the American’s first serve. The Australians’ defensive mode was often undone by her own mistakes, ending the match with 26 unforced errors.
Brady won the opening set 6-4 in 36 minutes, claiming the only break of serve of the match in the seventh game of the set. Neither player faced a break point in the second set, which went for 55 minutes before the unheralded Brady wrapped up the tiebreak 7-4 to move into the last eight.
Brady faces the winner of the second round match between Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitová and fellow qualifier Liudmila Samsonova in the quarter-finals.
The 23-year-old Australian remains active in the doubles at her hometown event and is in the field for next week’s Adelaide International before starting her Australian Open campaign in Melbourne.