Barty withdraws from Hobart to rest shoulder
TENNIS: Comeback kid Ash Barty has chosen not to take up a place in the main draw of the Hobart International singles competition after suffering shoulder soreness in qualifying.
The 20-year-old former Wimbledon junior champion won her way into the third and final round of qualifying with a gutsy 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over world No.88 Nicole Gibbs of the US on Saturday.
The Queenslander was due to play Japan's Risa Ozaki in Sunday's third and final round of qualifying but withdrew with shoulder soreness on Saturday evening.
Barty - who is returning to tennis after dabbling in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League with the Brisbane Heat - would have still been able to enter the main draw of the WTA tour tournament in Hobart if she nominated as a "lucky loser” following a spate of withdrawals from the tournament.
But Barty, who has been given a wildcard for this month's Australian Open, has chosen to not nominate and instead will focus on the doubles in Hobart with Perth's former world No.26 Casey Dellacqua as part of her preparation for the first grand slam of the year.
Following the win over Gibbs, which followed on from taking a set off world No.1 Angelique Kerber in Brisbane, Barty said she was pleased with how she was travelling in her return to the sport.
"It's nice to tick off another top 100 win coming into the first grand slam of the year as well,” she said.
Barty and Dellacqua will take on twin sisters Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok of the Ukraine in the first round of the doubles in Hobart.