Barty casts spell over Rogers in Madrid

·3-min read

Ash Barty has served up her own brand of wizardry in the "Magic Box" to sweep into the second round of the Madrid Open and give an impressive lift-off to her bid for back-to-back clay court titles.

Australia's world No.1, fresh from her double in Stuttgart at the weekend, was irresistible as she delved into her own box of tricks to breeze past her year's most familiar adversary, American Shelby Rogers, 6-2 6-1 in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

With rain in the air, though, Barty joked that she'd been a bit fed up when the roof on the Manolo Santana court in Madrid's famed 'Caja Magica' complex had to be rolled across.

"It's a beautiful centre court here. I was a bit bummed the weather was a bit dodgy. I was looking forward to some sunshine and getting outdoors. But we're indoors again (like Stuttgart)," sighed the Queenslander with mock indignation.

"As soon as we finished, they opened them up! I was a little bit bummed about that."

What she did enjoy, though, was the sound of a few spectators in an arena again, not to mention how she handled the threat of the world No.43 Rogers, who she's now played and beaten four times in four months this year.

"The rate that we're going, we'll play every month this year. Just make it a tradition!" laughed Barty, who'd had trouble in a couple of those previous matches.

Not this time, though, as she took just one hour to leave the American quite beaten and bamboozled.

"It was really nice to have a few voices in the crowd. I think they were certainly enjoying themselves," she said.

They certainly enjoyed Barty's crisp game as she served superbly and pulled her opponent every which way to prevail with eight aces, 19 delightfully executed winners and only nine unforced errors.

The only concern for her fans was seeing Barty's right shoulder with some strapping - but she laughed that off too.

"I'm an old body now, mate. Old and got to look after myself," she smiled.

"No, just a little bit of support. A bit of WD-40 and we're fine, we're all good!"

In truth, a quick win like this was just what the physio ordered after a demanding campaign in Stuttgart where she'd had to come from a set down in her final three singles matches and also spent energy winning the doubles too.

Next up for Barty, after celebrating her 13th win in her last 14 matches, is a last-32 meeting with Tamara Zidansek, the world No.80 who defeated Taipei's Hseih Su-Wei 6-2 6-4.

Admitting she knows little about her opponent, Barty added that she'd be swotting up on the Slovenian with her coach Craig Tyzzer.

Other good news for top seed Barty, who's after title number four this year, was the elimination of Elina Svitolina, who had run her so close in Stuttgart. The Ukrainian fourth seed lost 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to Swiss Jil Teichmann.

Another favourite, Spain's Garbine Muguruza had to withdraw from the tournament with a thigh injury but Poland's French Open champion Iga Swiatek, who could meet Barty in the last-16, looked ominous in beating American Alison Riske 6-1 6-1.