Disappointment but plenty of positives to take from battling first-round exit for Team Bath Tennis star Alicia Barnett at Australian Open
Team Bath Tennis ace Alicia Barnett and partner Olivia Nicholls put in a battling performance on their Australian Open debuts before being edged out in the first round by Czechia’s Markéta Vondroušová and Miriam Kolodziejová.
In an absorbing women’s doubles contest that lasted more than two hours on Court 17, the Brits – in only their third Grand Slam – took the first set 6-3 and bounced back from an early break in the second before their opponents drew level.
The match looked to be heading to a championship tie-break but a break in the 11th game of the third set proved decisive as Kolodziejova and Vondrousova emerged with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory, but only after Barnett and Nicholls had saved two match points.
Watch the match highlights here:
Team Bath Tennis Head Coach Ian MacDonald said: “Lissey and Liv will be disappointed with the result but it was a great effort and they will be better for the experience. The match was delayed 24 hours because of the weather and they were up against tough opposition, so they should be proud of their performance.”
Barnett and Nicholls got off to a dream start, breaking to love in their opponent’s first service game, only for Kolodziejova and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver-medallist Vondrousova to hit back and level at 2-2.
The Brits won the next three games on the bounce, though, and Barnett served out the final game without dropping a point as they took the first set 6-3.
Set 2 followed a similar pattern but with Kolodziejova and Vondrousova this time claiming the early break and Barnett and Nicholls responding to level at 3-3 before the Czechia pairing pulled away to take the match to a decisive third set.
It proved to be another close-fought affair which saw the first six games go to serve, then Barnett and Nicholls respond immediately to being broken by levelling at 4-4. Barnett saw off two break points on her next serve but Kolodziejova and Vondrousova were able to make the decisive break in game 11 to serve for the match.
The Brits kept fighting to the end, saving two match points, before the Czechia duo finally sealed their progress to round two.