Marker laid as Barty eyes greener pastures
Whatever befalls Ash Barty for the rest of the season, a grand slam marker has been laid.
Whether the Queenslander eventually triumphs at Melbourne Park or not, her best winning chance at grand slam level is on the other side of the world.
Wimbledon is Barty's natural habitat.
Its pristine grass is where the right-hander will ultimately prove to be the most effective.
Success elsewhere will be the result of sheer talent and toil.
ne of the anomalies of Barty's still embryonic career surrounds Wimbledon.
It was at the All England Club is where she launched internationally with junior singles victory - as a 15-year-old - in 2011.
The field that year included Eugenie Bouchard, Madison Keys, Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic.
Daria Gavrilova, then representing Russia, was top seed.
The outstanding aspect about Barty's victory was her youth - she conceded three years as a 15-year-old - and a sublime affinity with grass.
Yet from three main draw attempts, Barty has reached the third round only once, reaching the round of 32 last year.
In keeping with the mountain of work she has done with coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty continues to systematically build blocks.
Her past three majors tournaments - Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open - have all yielded career-bests.
The retiring all-courter does her best work away from public view.
More comfortable now in the limelight, Barty has again proved her genuine star power over the Australian summer.
She was simply out-gunned by a remorseless Petra Kvitova, dual grand slam and established big-match competitor.
Kvitova has the capacity to expose holes in opponent's games. Any opponent, including Serena Williams.
Barty has made incredible headway since returning to tennis from cricket.
The learning curve rises with every ranking increment.
The Australian Open of 2019 is just another step on a long road. It shapes to lead all the way to the greenest courts in the world.
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