Barty continues tennis comeback in Hobart

The Hobart International is the next step in Ash Barty’s tennis comeback, with the Aussie winning the first of three qualifying matches as she inches closer to the main draw.

The world No.271 on Friday scored a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over South Korean Su Jeong Jang, ranked 143rd.

The victory comes just two days after Queenslander Barty pushed world No.1 Angelique Kerber to three tight sets before being overcome at the Brisbane International.

“It’s a fresh tournament and a fresh start,” the 20-year-old said of her wildcard Hobart campaign, moving on from Brisbane.

“I feel great. A little bit flat today (after) jumping off the plane and not being able to hit when we got in, but it’s all still preparation for the Australian Open.”

Barty said she struggled for rhythm at times as she dropped the second set on Friday but was able to “refresh her mind”.

She faces another two qualifying rounds before her place is confirmed in the tournament’s main draw.

On Saturday Barty faces world No.88 American Nicole Gibbs.

The Wimbledon junior champion in 2012, Barty defected to cricket a year ago and played for the Brisbane Heat, but has turned back to tennis and is trying to surpass her previous best WTA singles ranking of 129.

Earlier on Friday Australia’s Storm Sanders and Tammi Patterson both failed to convert their qualification wildcards.

Sanders, 22 from NSW, lost 6-4 6-2 to Czech contender Tereza Martincova and Victoria’s Patterson, 27, bowed out 3-6 7-6 6-1.

Play in the main draw starts Sunday.

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