Palmerbet Sports Team’s Best of the Day preview serves up tennis tips for Aussie phenom Ash Barty’s opening assignment in Doha against Petra Martic.
21:00 (AEDT) @ Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha
History: Played 1: Barty 1 d Martic 0
Last Meeting: Miami Masters, 2018 (R32): Barty d Martic 6-4 6-3
Final Thoughts: Boasting a new career-high WTA ranking of No.13, Aussie star Ashleigh Barty lines up for her first tournament since a watershed Australian Open run.
Her first-round opponent at the Qatar Open is experienced Croatian Petra Martic, who also has a career-best ranking of No.31.
Barty stormed to a maiden grand slam quarter-final to capture the Melbourne crowd’s imagination last month. But she was halted by a white-hot Petra Kvitova – who also beat her in the preceding Sydney International final – in their last-eight showdown.
The 22-year-old is on a quick turnaround from a crucial role in Australia’s Fed Cup victory over USA.
Ash Barty defeats Madison Keys to put Australia 2-1 up in the #FedCup tie
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) February 10, 2019
These are the best moments 💛💚 How bloody good is Fed Cup! 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/ge7IqgpTxh
— Ash Barty (@ashbar96) February 11, 2019
Barty whipped Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys in singles action to maintain her excellent formline.
Martic has also been in good touch since winning a WTA 125K tournament in Chicago in September.
The 28-year-old reached the third round of the Australian Open, downing Heather Watson and Marketa Vondrousova, before a hard-fought 7-6 7-6 loss to fifth seed Sloane Stephens.
Barty prevailed in her only previous meeting with Martic, a straight-sets victory at last year’s Miami Masters.
Eighth seed Barty is unsurprisingly a $1.30 favourite ahead of this clash. But Martic underlined her staying power in her loss to Stephens – and with a far less hectic lead-in, she looks strong value for the upset.
Consider a three-set total and Martic with the head-start given Barty’s tight timeframe to prepare.