Ipswich player Ashleigh Barty focuses hard during yesterday’s City of Ipswich International Tennis final against winner Sandra Zaniewska at Leichhardt.
Ipswich player Ashleigh Barty focuses hard during yesterday’s City of Ipswich International Tennis final against winner Sandra Zaniewska at Leichhardt. Rob Williams

Barty enjoys time at home

FROM playing in Ipswich to Wimbledon glory and back on a home court again. Ashleigh Barty claims she hasn't changed a bit.

In reaching another final at Leichhardt yesterday, the Springfield-based tennis achiever proved it.

Barty won major tournaments in Sydney and Mildura recently after making her Australian Open debut and winning her first junior Wimbledon crown last year. She's in more demand than most Ipswich teenagers.

However, when she has time to stop for a chat, she's the same down-to-earth person.

"I haven't been home for long so it's just nice to be home with the family and everyone be able to see me again," Barty said.

"Everyone thinks I'm the same person. I haven't changed.

"I got home Friday and I've been pretty much fullbore since, trying to keep the body in good nick."

Barty, who turns 16 next month, lost yesterday's City of Ipswich Tennis International final 7-6 6-1 to claycourt specialist Sandra Zaniewska, from Poland.

Unseeded Barty produced her best game in overpowering doubles partner Sally Peers 6-1 6-1 in Saturday's semi-final in hot conditions at the George Alder Tennis Centre.

While she fought hard yesterday, the hard-working teenager was clearly tiring against an older opponent who enjoys coming to Ipswich - see story below.

While the clay courts at Leichhardt are anything but the grass of Wimbledon, Barty displayed her fine temperament and skill, especially in Saturday's semi-final win.

She had immaculate timing, superb court placement and an ability to mix up her game quickly and efficiently. The power produced by the 15-year-old continues to amaze.

Her dominant display against defending champion Peers came after Barty had to survive two tough-three set matches against third seed Sacha Jones and Japanese opponent Junri Namigata on Friday.

"I was happy to get through that one against Sally. She's always a tough person to play and a good friend of mine," Barty said.

Barty and Peers earlier withdrew from their doubles campaign to focus on singles play.

Barty had some pain in her knees and had them strapped as a precaution.

During Barty's semi-final, national coach Jason Stoltenberg nodded his approval, regularly acknowledging the Ipswich ace's long-term coach Jim Joyce next to him.

Barty has been training regularly in Melbourne with former international player Stoltenberg.

"I didn't play this tournament last year so it's always nice to come to a tournament fresh and being able to boost your ranking points as well," Barty said.

"I think I've developed a lot in the last year so I'm just happy with my progress.

"Hopefully I can keep progressing the next six or so months."

Barty is off to Bundaberg this week for her next Australian Pro Tour event. She then has a six-week training block before heading to Europe.

She's planning to play overseas tournaments leading into the French Open, building up to a return to Wimbledon.



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