Olivia Gadecki’s breakout run at the Phillip Island Trophy is over – but not before the Australian teenager received a glowing endorsement from her summer training partner and world No.1 Ash Barty.
Two days after eliminating 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on her WTA main-draw debut at Melbourne Park, Gadecki went down swinging 7-5 6-3 in the third round against Swede Rebecca Peterson.
Having only won her first professional match at Australian Open qualifying in Dubai last month, Gadecki entered this week’s tournament as an unranked wildcard.
But, as well as toppling the fourth-ranked Kenin, the 18-year-old from the Gold Coast also beat fellow Australian Destanee Aiava during her charge to the last 16.
“I’m incredibly proud of Liv. She’s done so much work over the last few months,” Barty said.
“I invited her to do a pre-season with us knowing she’s a brilliant girl first and foremost and then a hell of a ball striker after that.
“We had a really good two or three months of training together.
“She worked her backside off. She pushed me. She pushed me a lot, not just on the court but off the court, as well, in the gym, when we are doing our off-court training.
“I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed spending time with her.”
Barty told Gadecki that she was only ever a “phone call away” and is tipping a bright future for the teen talent.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for her,” Barty said.
“Any experiences she’s gone through – she stepped away from the game a little bit not at a dissimilar age than I did – so I think talking about that experience as well from my point of view and just sharing my story was really nice.
“But I just have a lot of time for her as a human being. She’s a great girl.
“I’m just so proud of the way she went out there (against Kenin) and played, did it with a smile on her face.”
Gadecki’s compatriots Gabriella Da Silva Fick and Kimberly Birrell also bowed out of the Phillip Island Trophy on Tuesday.
Da Silva Fick lost 6-1 6-1 to Czech Maria Bouzkova, while Birrell succumbed 6-1 6-3 to Croatian fourth seed Petra Martic.
Others to advance to the quarter-finals on Tuesday were American Danielle Collins, Russian Daria Kasatkina, Swiss Jill Teichmann and Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.