LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Ash Barty’s express-train run to the top of the women’s game shows no sign of slowing as the world number one dispatched China’s Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-2 to reach the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Australian Barty, who followed up her French Open triumph last month by winning in Birmingham, sealed a 13th straight win in a brisk hour and 16 minutes, battling through the first set before easing through the second.
Barty has never been past the third round at Wimbledon, but her game is well-suited to the slick grass courts and, having dragged herself to the summit of women’s tennis, she looks well-placed to challenge for a second Grand Slam title.
While some might feel the weight of expectation coming into a Grand Slam as world number one, it seems Barty is relishing the experience.
“It feels incredible. It feels a bit bizarre actually but I’m trying to go about my business in the same way as I always have done,” she said.
“You have to enjoy every minute when you’re playing at this beautiful tournament.”
The 23-year-old will certainly have to overcome tougher challenges than the 43rd-ranked Zheng if she is to lift the trophy next Saturday.
They had played each other three times previously, with Barty winning on each occasion and, apart from a brief wobble in the first set when she allowed the Chinese to claw back from 3-0 down to 3-3, it was plain sailing.
She broke early in the second set and again in the eighth game to wrap up victory, volleying the winner before saluting the crowd. (Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)