Melbourne, Australia — Ash Barty took center stage as the Australian Open celebrated its first First Nations Day.
Though not for very long.
Leader Barty has an Indigenous heritage and her second-round match at Melbourne Park’s main stadium on Wednesday was among the features of a program dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
She was quick on and off the court, beating the qualifier in 142nd place Lucy Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1 in 52 minutes.
“It was really cool. It was nice for me to be a part of it in a way that I’m most comfortable with,” Barty said. “On the tennis court I express myself as an athlete, so I can express myself as a person.
“In a day where we’re bringing cultures together, bringing people together… it was great for me to be able to play a small part in what I love.”
Barty extended her winning streak to 48 games and advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park for the sixth consecutive season.
The Wimbledon, 2021 French Open and 2019 French Open champion lost just one game in her first-round match, which also lasted less than an hour, as she struggled to become the first Australian to win the Grand Slam since 1978 -Win the country’s tournament.
Next up for Barty is a match against another Italian in 30th place Camila Giorgi. If you win that, Barty could end up in a fourth-round showdown against the defending champion Naomi Osaka.
13th seeded Osaka played Madison Brengel later on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to a third-round game Amanda Anizimova, who supplanted the Olympic champion belinda bencic 6-2, 7-5.
In eighth place in the day’s opening game at Rod Laver Arena Paula Badosa had a 6-0, 6-3 win over the Italian qualifiers Martina Trevisan.
Badosa won the title at a Tuneup tournament in Sydney last week when she recorded back-to-back match wins for the first time in Australia.
In other early second round results on Day 3, two-time Australian Open winner Viktoria Azarenka hit Jil Teichman 6-1, 6-2 and and will meet No. 15 next Elina Switolina, who was leading 6-3, 5-7, 5-1 at the time harmony tan eliminated from their second round match.
#21 Jessica Pegula beat his American compatriot Bernhard Pera 6-4, 6-4; No. 26 Yelena Ostapenko remove Alison Riske 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; and Madison key won 6-2, 7-5 Jacqueline Christian.
Svitolina waited on the pitch at Margaret Court Arena until Tan, who had had treatment on her lower left leg after the fifth game of the third set, was placed in a wheelchair.
“It’s always terrible when an athlete gets injured in a competition. She played really well and didn’t make it easy for me,” said Svitolina. “It was a tough game. It’s tough to see a player come out like that.”
With her left lower leg heavily bandaged, 24-year-old Tan couldn’t even move to the ball when Svitolina held the serve. The battered French returned to forearm serve hoping to finish the match rather than retire.
Chair umpire Richard Haigh told Tan to stop so as not to cause more damage as she appeared to be struggling with cramps in her right leg as well.
When her mother signaled for her to stop from the stands, Tan left in tears after being hugged by Svitolina and sustained applause from the crowd.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.