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Ashleigh Barty defeats Zheng Saisai, sails through to second round

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Ashleigh Barty

The surprising move from the All England Club came on the back of the Seven Network's controversial decision to leave coverage of the top seed's first-round match against China's Zheng Saisai and focus on the all-Australian battle between Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson on Tuesday.

Kyrgios believes Australia have the right to watch Barty ahead of him and said the 23-year-old deserved to have the whole nation behind her.

Wimbledon organisers have overlooked Barty to instead promote a local flavour on Centre Court on Thursday.

Tonight's opponent will be Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck who forced her way through to the second round with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round.

Barty and Zheng had played each other three times previously, with Barty winning on each occasion and, apart from a brief wobble in the first set when she allowed the Chinese to claw back from 3-0 down to 3-3, it was plain sailing.

I don't think what Ash has achieved in recent weeks has actually had the recognition it deserves from a lot of people, but as one of the biggest names in tennis, what Serena said was pretty shitty.

That match is followed by another British player, Johanna Konta, the world No 18, who takes on unheralded Czech Katerina Siniakova before Kyrgios closes out the day against Rafael Nadal in a genuine Centre Court blockbuster.

Garbine Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champion who was also placed in that same tough quarter of the draw, didn't make it through her first match.

Barty became more confident as the match went on, and didn't drop a serve in the second set to navigate her way to a 13th consecutive win.

The French Open champion succeeded Naomi Osaka as the WTA Tour's top-ranked player at the Birmingham Classic, with the Japanese having endured a miserable stint since her Australian Open success in January.

"What she's doing is incredible".

Nothing seems to ruffle Barty, so it's doubtful she'll have any qualms about her Centre Court snubbing. It doesn't surprise me at all.

"You have to enjoy every minute when you're playing at this attractive tournament".

"She was sweet, because I was panicking and I couldn't find my phone", Gatto-Monticone recounted. "If we can give ourselves the opportunity, that would be great".

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