Star in stripes Barty looks for World Cup cricket boost

Paris (AFP) –


Ashleigh Barty may have turned her back on her cricket career, but that won't prevent her from missing the World Cup when she leaves France for England after Roland Garros.

The 23-year-old Australian took a break from tennis to play Twenty20 cricket in 2015-2016.

Since her return, however, she has thrived, reaching the top 10 as well as a earning a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals this year.

At the French Open this year, she is seeded eight, her highest level so far at the Grand Slams.

The Cricket World Cup runs from May 30 until July 14, neatly dovetailing with the grass court season in England.

And Barty says she will not miss out on the action as the Australian men's team defend their world title.

"I will be glued to it," said Barty after beating Jessica Pegula of the United States 6-3, 6-3 to make the French Open second round for the third time.

"I'll be watching the women's football World Cup as well. It's a little bit of a sporting haven over the next month for everyone.

"So I think I'll be glued to the TV like the rest of the world."

Barty insists she made the right decision in returning to tennis after her brief employment wielding a bat rather than a racquet.

"It was a natural decision and obviously a very good one," she added.

Meanwhile, Barty's outfit caught the eye as much as her game on Monday, dressed in striking black and white tiger stripes.

"I think it looks pretty good against the clay," said Barty after her win over 72nd-ranked Pegula secured with six breaks of serve in exactly one hour.

"They've kind of released it sporadically over the year. But very cool. I think it pops.

"There's a bit of black going around, as well, with a lot of the girls are in black and in darker colours, and it always look good against the red clay."

Next up for the Australian is a clash against either Germany's Tatjana Maria or America's Danielle Collins, a surprise semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January.

But Barty, one of three Australian women in action on Monday along with Samantha Stosur and Astra Sharma, is not getting too carried away by her chances of making the second week in Paris for the first time.

"I think that the level is there. I know that there's no red flags, nothing I need to stress or worry about.

"It's just about going out there and enjoying playing the matches, enjoy competing, making sure I'm there for every rally, there for every point, and trying to give myself the best chance."