Ashleigh Barty Australian Open 2020

‘Never give up!’ – World number one Ash Barty survives major Miami scare

World number one Ashleigh Barty survived a major scare as she had to fend off a match point in her Miami opener.

Barty looked well short of her best against qualifier Kristina Kucova despite coming through the first set relatively comfortably.

However, it all got a little messy for the Australian after that, with her losing the second set and then facing a match point at 3-5 down in the third.

Kucova could not punish her, though, and Barty reeled off five games in a row to seal a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win.

“Never give up, never ever give up,” Barty said on court afterwards. “You’re always in there with a chance.

“Today was really hard work, and I enjoyed every single minute of it,”

“There’s nothing like coming through a test like that, and now I get another opportunity in a couple days time to play another tough match, and test myself again.”

Number seven seed Aryna Sabalenka was in a similar boat as she successfully defended two match points in a final-set tiebreaker against qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova.

Like Barty, though, she held her nerve and came through it 0-6, 6-3, 7-6.