MASON, Ohio (AP) — One long layoff was no problem for Ash Barty. She’s got this year’s Wimbledon championship to prove it.
She’s hoping to respond as well to another delay.
The top-ranked Barty’s second-round match in the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday was postponed after two rain delays totaling five hours pushed back the schedule in the second full day of play. The match against qualifier Heather Watson would’ve been her first action in more than three weeks since she lost in the first round at the Tokyo Olympics.
Barty started her run at Wimbledon after being sidelined for five weeks with a hip injury she suffered during her second-round match at the French Open. The Australian sailed through the draw at the All England Club, dropping just two sets — both in tiebreakers and one in the final — as she captured her second Grand Slam title.
Since then, Barty's only competitive match has been her loss in Tokyo.
Barty, who traveled with her team to the Bahamas to train for the Olympics, was looking forward to this week’s tournament, if only to get acclimated to playing on hard courts in the hot, humid conditions she's likely to face at the upcoming U.S. Open.
“I think I’m looking forward to now changing back to hard courts and kind of trying to find some rhythm and some groove, which it feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve played on hard courts,” Barty sad. “Honestly, I mean Miami (in March) was my last hard-court tournament, and the conditions there are vastly different to here, so I think it’s going to take some time to adjust, without a doubt, but we’ll just keep chipping away and get ourselves the best chance each and every match.”
Barty, who got a first-round bye, said before the tournament that she's still processing her title at Wimbledon.
“I think I was still trying to comprehend in my brain what we were able to achieve as a team, and particularly the adversity we went through in between kind of the French Open period and through Wimbledon,” she said. “I think we still haven’t sat down as a team and really talked through that. I think that’s going to be a really enjoyable conversation that’s going to probably bring up a lot of laughter and a lot of our good times. I think that’s going to be an important part of my year, when we actually get a chance to do that.
“For the time being, I’m excited to have another chance to play here in Cincy, to get to New York and to play there.”
Among Tuesday’s first-round winners were two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep and Coco Gauff on the women’s side and Grigor Dimitrov, a former men's champion in Cincinnati. Gauff is scheduled to face second-ranked Naomi Osaka in the second round.
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