Ash Barty was in imperious form as she swept aside Danka Kovinic without losing a single game in a hugely impressive Australian Open 2021 opener.
The 24-year-old, looking to become the first Australian champion at the first Grand Slam of the season since 1978, could not have looked more commanding.
Barty, in quite stunning form and utterly dominant, won the first 16 points of the one-sided contest and never allowed her opponent even a glimmer of an opportunity to get into the match.
"This is what it's all about, this is incredible," the Australian said as the Melbourne fans cheered her every word.
It's impossible not to enjoy a night session on this beautiful court.
Highlights: Breathtaking Barty through without dropping a game
"I wanted to go out there and almost take the sting, take the pepper out of the match a little bit and get it on my terms as much as possible right from the get-go and make it feel like she had a real mountain to climb," Barty said.
"I think that was probably the most pleasing thing overall, right from the start I set the tone and was able to run away with it.
Barty was also the top seed at last year after winning her first Grand Slam title at the 2019 French Open but she ended up losing in the semi-finals eventual champion Sofia Kenin.
"I think more than anything is you're seeing that the women's game is getting so strong, the depth is incredible. You certainly can't underestimate anyone," Barty said.
"Every single opponent deserves to be here and has the right to press you as much as possible."
Barty will next face a second-round match against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo or local wildcard Daria Gavrilova.
"It will be a challenge if she gets through," she said of compatriot Gavrilova.
"I always enjoy testing myself against other Aussies. If she does get through, it will be a ripper."
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