Cricket stint helped Ashleigh Barty who beat Maria Sharapova at Aus Open 2019

Cricket stint helped Ashleigh Barty who beat Maria Sharapova at Aus Open 2019

Barty had represented Brisbane Heat in the tournament.

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

Ashleigh Barty, who played cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) earlier, on Sunday stunned former World No.1 Maria Sharapova in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open 2019, despite losing the first set. The 22-year-old, who won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 coming back from behind said it was her break from the game when she played in the WBBL that she emerged as a better tennis player.

Barty had represented Brisbane Heat in the 2015-16 season besides playing a game in the Women’s National Cricket League in November 2015 for Queensland Women. Her best show with the bat in the WBBL was 39-off 27 balls against Melbourne Stars which though the Heat had lost. It was her first game in the tournament and she played a total of nine matches.

“I needed to take that time away,” Barty, was quoted as saying by ICC News. “For me, having that 18 months off was vital. I feel like I came back a better person on and off the court, a better tennis player.”

No lonesome moment in cricket

Born in Ipswich, Queensland, Barty was back to tennis after the break and the stint with a team sport was refreshing for the player who specialises in an individual game.

“There’s never a lonesome moment on the [cricket] field if you’re struggling. There’s 10 other girls that can help you out and get you through the tough times,” Barty had said after she had signed for the Heat. She made a total of 69 runs in seven innings in the tournament with one unbeaten inning.

That Barty has indeed gained from cricket became evident when she won the US Open doubles title with CoCo Vandeweghe in 2018 and also became the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic to make the last eight in the Australian Open. She is currently ranked 15th in singles.

Barty will next take on Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitová in the quarter-final match at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.

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