MELBOURNE: World number one Ash Barty suffered a meltdown on the brink of victory but regathered herself to fend off compatriot Daria Gavrilova 6-1 7-6(7) and reach the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Barty, who came onto centre court with her left thigh heavily strapped, served for the match at 5-2 but was broken twice in a hail of unforced errors, allowing wildcard Gavrilova to drag the contest deep into a tiebreak.
Fortunately for Barty, Gavrilova reprieved her twice with unforced errors on set point and then coughed up another on match point to surrender on a steamy day at Rod Laver Arena.
Barty will meet the winner of Ekaterina Alexandrova and Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the fourth round.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)