Ash Barty was going to stitch up Casey Dellacqua.
Ash Barty was going to stitch up Casey Dellacqua.

Barty’s SMS threat to ‘kill interview’

Aussie superstar Ash Barty's SMS threat to kill her on-court TV interview with close friend Casey Dellacqua has been revealed following her second round win at the Australian Open.

The World No. 1 left fans scratching their heads when she refused to elaborate on a plan to "stitch up" Dellacqua during her on-court interview with Channel 9 following her impressive 6-1 6-4 win over Polona Hercog on Wednesday.

Barty progressed to the third round of the women's singles draw for a fourth straight year with the win - becoming the first Aussie woman to achieve the feat since the Open moved to Melbourne Park in 1988.

Barty was dynamic on the court and flew through the first set in just 24 minutes - but she saved her most cutting behaviour for when she approached Dellacqua after the match to conduct the post-match interview.

Ash Barty was going to stitch up Casey Dellacqua.
Ash Barty was going to stitch up Casey Dellacqua.

Barty was heard muttering something under her breath as Channel 9 crossed to Dellacqua - and her threat to stitch up her former doubles partner was later revealed by Channel 9 sports presenter Cam Williams.

"Well, Ash, everyone knows we're good friends," Dellacqua began the interview with a smile.

"This is a professional environment now… actually I will let you tell the crowd what you were going to do to me if we ever got this moment."

Barty sidestepped the offer to reveal her threat.

"This is the highlight of my day," she said.

"I wonder if I can stitch you up here. Obviously today was really special and it was nice having you right there and staring at me at every change of ends. Making sure that I was doing the right things. It has been another clean match today and very happy to get out of that one."


Williams then revealed a few minutes later on Channel 9 that Barty had texted Dellacqua on Tuesday night, threatening to derail the interview.

"I had a beer with her and she was receiving tweets or text messages through that dinner from Ash Barty saying if she got to interview her today, she was going to kill the interview with one word answers," he said.

"They are great mates."

Channel 9 presenter Rebecca Maddern responded: "Which is always a journo's worst nightmare.

"I think that was really emotional (for Dellacqua) to interview her. She was really proud of her. You could see that."

Barty admitted in her Wednesday press conference she jokes around with Dellacqua over text message "most nights".

"I text Casey most nights threatening something," she said with a grin.

"It just depends what we've been chatting about. She said last night she was going to sit courtside... but she hadn't confirmed or denied it. I think she was trying to keep me on the edge of my seat.

"It was tough to try and act semi-professional with her on the court. That conversation could have gone south pretty quickly I think. It was good fun to see her out there."

After a three-set comeback win in the opening round, top-seeded Barty needed barely an hour to see off big-hitting world No. 48 Hercog.


Ashleigh Barty was in the zone.
Ashleigh Barty was in the zone.

Unlike Monday night when she dropped the first set against Lesia Tsurenko, a switched on Barty dominated the opener in windy conditions on Rod Laver Arena, twice breaking Hercog's serve.

The Slovenian put up more of a fight in the second, forcing Barty to hold from double-break-point down in the eighth game.

The world No. 1 then gained a decisive third service break the very next game before closing out the contest, again from 15-40, in 66 minutes with four straight clutch first serves.

Barty next plays in-form Kazakh Elena Rybakina, a winner of this month's Hobart International, or Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen on Friday for a place in the last 16.

Should she win, Barty will run into either her Open doubles partner Julia Goerges or American world No.19 Alison Riske in the fourth round.

- with AAP

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