LONDON (Reuters) - Top seed Ash Barty hurried into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday, dispatching Alison van Uytvanck 6-1 6-3 in 54 minutes on the All England Club’s distant showcourt Two.
Barty is the woman of the moment having just won her first Grand Slam at the French Open but she and former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber were consigned to Court Two for their second-round matches while much lower ranked Britons were scheduled to play on Centre Court.
But the 23-year-old Australian former cricketer was not going to enter into any controversy, diplomatically saying she was happy to play on any court.
“If I got to play on the (Centre) Court, it would be incredible. One of the most beautiful courts in the world,” she said.
“I’ll play whenever I’m scheduled. There’s not a bad court here at Wimbledon, all special in their own right. They’re all very beautiful. I certainly enjoyed playing on Court Two today.
“It was nice to hear some Aussies out there, get some support. It was incredible,” she said.
It was an early start but “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” rang out at changeovers on the court.
No Australian woman has won Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley in 1980.
And the court did not affect Barty’s tennis. She sprayed winners, including two delicious lobs, and did not allow Van Uytvanck into the match until the sixth game of the first set.
Barty took the first set with a backhand that wrong-footed her opponent and wrapped up the match, played in warm sunshine, with a high backhand volley winner.
Van Uytvanck is no slouch on grass. The Belgian reached the last 16 at Wimbledon last year, upsetting defending champion Garbine Muguruza on the way, and she has a powerful swinging serve.
Barty said she needed to “have my running shoes on”.
“I was pretty sharp from the start,” she said. “I was able to implement what I wanted right away and put the pressure straight back on her.”
Barty next plays Britain’s 182nd-ranked Harriet Dart who beat Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia to reach the third round for the first time.
It is a match made for a partisan Centre Court crowd but Barty is not worrying about that.
“I wouldn’t be playing a British crowd, I’m playing against Harriet,” she said.
Reporting by Clare Lovell; Editing by Ed Osmond and Alison Williams