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Barty safe in third round

Barty safe in third round
Ashleigh Barty (Reuters)

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MELBOURNE – World number one Ash Barty suffered a meltdown on the brink of victory but regathered herself to fend off compatriot Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 7-6(7) and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

Barty, who came onto centre court with her left thigh heavily strapped, served for the match at 5-2 but was broken twice in a hail of unforced errors, allowing wildcard Gavrilova to drag the contest deep into a tiebreak.

Fortunately for Barty, Gavrilova reprieved her twice with unforced errors on set point and then coughed up another on match point to surrender on a steamy day at Rod Laver Arena.

Barty will meet the winner of Ekaterina Alexandrova and Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, reigning champion Sofia Kenin crashed out  in the second round on Thursday, slumping to a 6-3, 6-2 defeat at the hands of world number 65 Kaia Kanepi on Margaret Court Arena.

Kenin, who followed her Grand Slam breakthrough at Melbourne Park last year with a run to the final at the French Open, sprayed 22 unforced errors in the 64-minute contest against the experienced Estonian. (Reuters)