It wasn’t entirely straightforward for Ash Barty, but having been pushed hard by the American Lauren Davis under the roof of Louis Armstrong court on a rain-affected day at Flushing Meadows, the world No 2 secured her place in the third round of the US Open.
Barty wrapped up a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory on her fourth match point in a tie-break that ultimately proved far more comfortable than the preceding game, in which Davis saved three of those four match points and forced a breaker.
Barty was tested throughout the second set and had to fight back from a break down before staving off a set point in that lengthy 12th game and sealing victory in just over two hours.
“I knew I was doing the right thing, it was just a bit about execution,” Barty said afterwards. “It was difficult conditions out there. But I’m very happy to come through and play a really good tie breaker.”
Barty will play either Peng Shuai or 30th-seeded Maria Sakarri next for a place in the last 16 for the second straight year.
Unlike her tournament opener against Zarina Diyas – or three of her matches in Cincinnati – where she dropped the first set, Barty jumped out of the blocks on Wednesday night.
Davis pushed then-world No 1 Simona Halep to the brink during the longest women’s match in Australian Open history last year but Barty barely gave her a sniff in the first set, breaking the American on her first service game and then pocketing the set when Davis double-faulted trying to stay in it.
Davis threatened to force a deciding third set after establishing a 5-3 lead in the second but Barty broke back and then turned the screws to lead 6-5.
Victory improved Barty’s grand slam record to 16-2 in 2019 and edged the Queenslander to within one win of matching her career-best run in New York from last year.