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Barty vs Ostapenko WTA Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Home hope, Barty faces former Roland Garros winner, Ostapenko in Sydney opener

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 7 Jan 2019
  • Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko is live from Sydney on Tuesday, 8 January from 1:30pm local time/ 2:30am GMT
  • Barty and Ostapenko have split their two previous meetings
Ash Barty. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Australia's No. 1, Ashleigh Barty officially opens her WTA season on Tuesday when she goes up against former French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko in the first round of the Sydney International.

Barty spent the opening week of the year on Hopman Cup duty for her country, recording impressive straight sets victories over Garbine Muguruza and Alize Cornet before falling to the superb Angelique Kerber as Australia failed to progress beyond the round-robin phase.

Still, it was a decent week for the Australian, who played at a generally high level, and will be looking to build on that encouraging form when she competes in a loaded Sydney field this week. If Barty is to match last year's run to the final, she will have to get past Ostapenko, and then Halep in the second round, while Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza are possible semi-final opponents.

Barty’s ambitions for 2019 are very clear- after two successive top 20 finishes, the 22-year-old has set her sights on pushing for the top 10, and going deeper in the majors in 2019.

“The last two years have been extremely consistent, which I'm really, really pleased about but the next goal for me is top 10 and to go deep in singles in slam events," Barty said.

Her best Grand Slam performance was last year's fourth round run at the US Open, while claimed two more WTA titles in 2018, in Nottingham and Zhuhai. She was also a semi-finalist at Premier tournaments in Beijing and Wuhan.

Can the world No. 15 better all of that in 2019? She officially gets her season underway on Tuesday when she plays Latvia's Ostapenko.


Ostapenko is seeking her first win in 2019, after suffering a heavy 6-0 6-2 defeat to Monica Niculescu in her season opener in Shenzhen last week.

Jelena Ostapenko. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
After her stunning rise in 2017, when she sensationally won the French Open and barged into the top 10, Ostapenko struggled for consistency in 2018, and was out of the top 20 by the end of the year.

The 21-year-old showed flashes of the talent that propelled her to Roland Garros glory in the previous season, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the final in Miami, but she hardly made any impact in any other tournament, with her best results outside those two being quarter-finals in St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Rome and Eastbourne; and third-round runs at the Australian and US Open. Her French Open title defence ended with a first-round defeat to Kateryna Kozlova.

Ostapenko looked out-of-sorts in her 2019 opener against Niculescu in Shenzhen, serving at just 43%, including eight double faults, and winning an astonishing 2 of 20 on second serve points. She totaled 35 unforced errors in the 51-minute defeat. The Latvian will definitely have to play a lot better if she is to have any chance of beating Barty on Tuesday. Barty may not have the unorthodox skills of Niculescu, but she does possess the variety that can make life very uncomfortable for the former French Open champion.

Ostapenko and Barty have split their two previous meetings- Ostapenko winning in three sets in Bucharest in 2017, and Barty responding with a 6-3 6-0 victory in Wuhan later that season.

Despite her poor showing in Shenzhen, Ostapenko does have the ability to switch things around very quickly, and remains one of the most explosive players on the tour. Her unpredictability makes her very dangerous, but also very difficult to back. 

Barty has made the much better start to the year, and should have too much variety for the former Roland Garros winner.

Ashleigh Barty vs Jelena Ostapenko is live from Sydney on Tuesday, 8 January from 1:30pm local time/ 2:30am GMT

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Barty vs Ostapenko WTA Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Home hope, Barty faces former Roland Garros winner, Ostapenko in Sydney opener

Ashleigh Barty takes on Jelena Ostapenko in the first round of the Sydney International on Tuesday. Read our match preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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