World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty has not made the start of the season that she wanted in front of the home fans, losing to a qualifier Jennifer Brady in the second round in Brisbane. It was the earliest exit for Barty since the Rogers Cup last August, unable to do anything on the return and suffering one break that was enough to push the American through after she claimed the second set tie break.
In the first round, Brady defeated another former world no. 1 and Major champion Maria Sharapova in the third set tie break, gaining confidence ahead of Barty clash where she had the points on her racquet, controlling the pace and delivering impressive numbers behind the initial shot to mount the pressure on Ashleigh all the time.
Jennifer landed a backhand return winner in the seventh game to secure the only break of the encounter, holding at 15 with a service winner before Barty reduced the deficit to 5-4 with a forehand down the line winner of her own.
Keeping her focus, Brady held at 15 in the tenth game following a forehand winner to close the opening set, looking for more of the same in the rest of the encounter against the rival who was yet to find her usual rhythm.
The second set saw some brilliant serving from both, with 12 powerful holds that led them into a tie break, the must-win one for the home star. Barty opened it with a slice error and found herself 3-0 down before a forehand winner delivered the first point for her, a little bit too late to make a turnaround.
The Aussie did get back to 3-4 before the aggressive American landed another forehand winner to extend the lead, sealing the deal in the 11th point for a massive celebration.