Barty posts comeback win in WTA Adelaide

Ashleigh Barty has overcome a slow start to win her opening match at the Adelaide International.
Ashleigh Barty has overcome a slow start to win her opening match at the Adelaide International.

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty has overcome a sluggish start to post a comeback victory in her first appearance at the Adelaide International WTA tournament.

The Australian top seed has beaten Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-6 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday at Memorial Drive.

Barty, gifted a first-round bye, initially struggled in the second-round fixture against the world No.31.

The Australian battled for timing and fluency - in similar fashion to last week when she lost her first-round match against American world No.53 Jennifer Brady in her first outing of the summer at the Brisbane International.

But Barty recovered in Adelaide in the second set, finding increasing touch ahead of the Australian Open starting on Monday in Melbourne.

The Australian hit five of her 11 aces in the second set and, in the third, raced to a 5-2 lead, aided by a series of unforced errors from the Russian.

But Pavlyuchenkova, just when appearing down for the count, rallied to level at 5-5 before Barty gained a break of serve and then closed out the match.

Earlier, Australian qualifier Arina Rodionova caused a boilover by downing American Sloane Stephens.

World No. 201 Rodionova triumphed 6-2 6-2 over an Stephens, ranked 25 in the world.

Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, was out of sorts from the start - her serve was broken in the opening game of the match.

Rodionova, a 30-year-old who endured two three-set wins in qualifying just to reach the main draw, was in control thereafter.

"I was pretty relaxed today," Rodionova said.

"From winning those two really tough matches in qualifying, I feel like I deserve to be in the main draw."

The victory ranks among the biggest of her career - she has only two wins against top-20 players since making her WTA main draw debut in 2008.

Australian Associated Press