Barty made to wait for Birmingham opener – Nine Wide World of Sports

Ashleigh Barty’s encounter with Donna Vekic was pushed back a day after play was ended prematurely at the WTA Birmingham Classic because of heavy rain.

Newly-crowned French Open champion Barty was due to open her grasscourt singles campaign against Nottingham Open winner Vekic but tournament organisers decided on an early end to proceedings with no let-up in the drizzle.

Her Centre Court match with the Croatian will now open proceedings on Wednesday at 11.30 (2030 AEST).

Earlier on Tuesday, world No.1 Naomi Osaka was tested by Maria Sakkari in her first-round match but eventually went through to the last-16 with a hard-fought 6-1 4-6 6-3 win.

Barty could overtake Osaka at the top of the rankings by reaching the final in Birmingham, although the Roland Garros champion will need to win the title following Osaka’s opening-match victory.

If Osaka makes the final, she will secure the No.1 ranking and be the provisional top seed for Wimbledon.

In her first match since her third-round exit at Roland Garros earlier this month, 21-year-old Osaka struggled with her first serve against the world No.33 and took two hours to dispatch her Greek opponent.

However, the Japanese, who lost to Sakkari prior to her US Open title run last year, did manage to fire seven aces and won five break points to clinch victory on a surface she had previously admitted was not her strongest.

Elsewhere, former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko stormed into the next round with a 6-0 6-2 demolition of Iga Swiatek while Petra Martic saw off the challenge of Ekaterina Alexandrova with a 6-3 7-5 win.

©RAW2019

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