Daria Gavrilova has set up a mouth-watering second-round clash with world No.1 Ash Barty after beating Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.
Gavrilova, the former world No.20 whose ranking has since slipped to 387, defeated world No.64 Sorribes Tormo 6-1 7-5 in a clinical display on Tuesday night.
The result sets up an all-Australian second round blockbuster against Barty, who sent an ominous warning to her rivals with a 6-0 6-0 thumping of Danka Kovinic in a 44-minute masterclass.
“I’m pretty excited. I mean, I haven’t played Ash in ages,” Gavrilova said.
“It’s going to be really fun.”
Barty holds a 3-1 head-to-head advantage in WTA matches over Gavrilova.
The pair have a friendly relationship off the court, but Barty’s ascension to world No.1 means Gavrilova can’t help but feel intimidated at times.
“I have a lot of respect for Ash,” Gavrilova said of her Fed Cup teammate.
“You know, she was training at Xavier (College) while the internationals were in quarantine, and me and Luke just are sharing one car and he left, but he was going to drop me off.
“Anyway, long story. I was scared to ask Ash for a lift. I was like, ‘Ash, can you please give me a lift?’
“She’s like, ‘Oh my God, you’re an idiot. Let’s go’.
“She’s incredible. She’s someone if we travel, she’s the first one to find a good coffee shop.
“But we are definitely completely different personalities. Like complete opposites. But we get along on tour and she’s someone I definitely look up to.”
World No.15 Johanna Konta retired hurt while leading in her match against Kaja Juvan.
Konta won the first set 6-4 and was down 2-0 in the second set when she pulled the plug.
“I pulled my ab, and that made it difficult for me to serve,” Konta said.
“That’s why I had to retire, basically. I feel like I’m in a bit of shock.
“I felt it in my second service game of the first set, so then I was just conscious of trying to adapt while using my legs more on my serve.
“And then my second-last service game of the first set, that’s when it started to get quite painful, and I tried to just manage it the best I could.
“But then in my last service game of the first set, that’s when I needed to intervene with the physios to try and offload it in any way with tape and things like that.”