Ashleigh Barty skips Australian Open warm-up tournament after Adelaide triumph
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Melbourne - World No 1 Ashleigh Barty on Monday pulled out of this week's Sydney Classic to rest ahead of the Australian Open after clinching the singles and doubles titles at the Adelaide International.
The 25-year-old said she would instead travel directly to Melbourne for the opening Grand Slam of the year, starting in one week's time.
"Unfortunately, I am withdrawing from the Sydney Tennis Classic to have some time to recover before the Australian Open," she said.
"I'm sorry I won't get the chance to play in front of the Sydney fans this year."
Barty crushed Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-2 to claim the 14th singles title of her career on Sunday then returned to win the doubles with Storm Sanders.
It was her first tournament in four months, since a shock third-round loss at the US Open in September, after which she opted to remain in Australia because of the pandemic.
But the reigning Wimbledon champion bounced back emphatically to show why she is favourite to win her maiden Australian Open crown.
Barty beat a host of top players in a stacked top half of the Adelaide draw, including Coco Gauff (world number 19), Sofia Kenin (12) and Iga Swiatek (8) on her way to the decider.
Her first-round bye in Sydney has been handed to third seed and world number four Barbora Krejcikova, with world number three Garbine Muguruza now the top seed.
Former French Open champion Swiatek, who fell to Barty in the Adelaide semis, also withdrew from Sydney.
"After a tense pre-season and last week's tournament in Adelaide I feel like my body needs more time to recover before @australianopen," the Pole said on Twitter.
"I've been feeling some pain in my lower rib area, which is why unfortunately I've decided to withdraw from the tournament in Sydney. See you in Melbourne!"
Swiatek was due to open her Sydney campaign against US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who missed the Melbourne Summer Set tournament last week as she continued to recover from coronavirus.
The Briton will instead play Rybakina.
In early Sydney action, Spain's world number nine Paula Badosa swept past Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 and fifth-ranked Estonian Anett Kontaveit beat China's Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-3.
Among the men, Belgium's David Goffin won his first round match 6-4, 6-4 against Argentina's Facundo Bagnis.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, Russia's world number 20 Aslan Karatsev, and Britain's Dan Evans are also in the draw.