Ash Barty will look to rebound from her Australian Open quarter-final loss at this week’s Adelaide International. The world No 1 has made the surprise decision to defend the title she won in the South Australian capital last year.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Adelaide and having the opportunity to defend my title,” Barty said. 3“I feel grateful to get another week playing in front of Australian fans.”
Barty had been planning to head to the Middle East after a short break following a gruelling schedule of 10 matches in less than three weeks.
But the 24-year-old’s camp confirmed she would be back on the court for the $US535,000 Adelaide event starting on Sunday.
“Ash has had great success here at Memorial Drive over the last couple of years and we’ll welcome her with open arms, and cheer her on from the first serve,” said Premier Steven Marshall.
“The fact that South Australia has been able to attract the world’s No 1 female player is a massive coup, and we are super keen to celebrate Ash returning to our city.”
Barty will be top seed, with 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek, US Open winner Bianca Andreescu and 2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady her most obvious title threats.
After losing to Brady in her opening match of the summer last year in Brisbane, Barty won her eighth career title in Adelaide before going on to reach the last four at the 2020 Australian Open.
Fellow Australians Samantha Stosur, Ajla Tomljanovic and Olivia Gadecki have been awarded the final three Adelaide International wildcards.
Veteran Stosur will travel to Adelaide after she and compatriot Matt Ebden lost the Australian Open mixed doubles final to Barbora Krejcikova and Rajeev Ram.
Tomljanovic enters the tournament in impressive form having stretched world No 2 Simona Halep to three sets in their second-round match at Melbourne Park. Gadecki, 18, made her WTA main draw debut at last month’s Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne and enjoyed a maiden win against world No 4 Sofia Kenin.
The current entry list for the second edition of the Adelaide International includes French Open champion Iga Swiatek of Poland, Switzerland’s world No 12 Belinda Bencic and British world No 14 Johanna Konta.
Storm Sanders, Kim Birrell, Ivana Popovic and Belinda Woolcock have been awarded wildcards for the qualifying draw starting Sunday.