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January 9, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A. BARTY/S. Halep

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Beating world No. 1, what's the emotions around such a big win?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, obviously very satisfying. I learned my lesson finally. I knew Sim would be a little bit rusty, being her first match of the year and first match in a while.

Extremely tricky conditions. Very happy with the way I was able to keep it kind of together.

Q. At 4-4, I think both sets, break points, close games. How did you get through those tough games?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, in the first set particularly, that was a big game. I dug myself into a little bit of a hole, but then was able to serve my way out of it and get forehands and give myself an opportunity.

That game at 4-all, I think in the second set, I was happy to just hit my slice over and over and try and wear her down a little bit.

Q. What pleased you the most about your game today?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think in tricky conditions, I think, you know, I gave myself in a lot of games. In my service games I got behind a lot but was able to kind of crawl back in. And in the return games, I actually returned quite well. Didn't miss too many and didn't give her too many freebies.

Q. Did you sense she was a little bit uncomfortable out there?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think knowing that she hadn't played a match in a few months, that was always going to be the case. She's world-class, so I knew she was going to fight and stay around no matter what, no matter how she felt.

And in those conditions, it's very tricky court level. It's pretty swirly, and the ball drops and dives and moves around a little bit. Yeah, I was pretty happy.

Q. And you have spoken before about expectations. With a win like that, do you get excited about it?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think it's all blown out a little bit. For me it's another tennis player across the other court.

Yeah, I completely respect and 100% respect Simona. She's done amazing things in this sport. But I certainly fear no one, and I feel like I can go out there and match it with the world's best.

Q. In the early stages of your career, it was a bit daunting maybe to play the world No. 1s and those people. Now you have gotten past that, do you actually feel like you belong in that situation?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think the first -- I mean, the first time I played a world No. 1 was Serena at the Australian Open. You don't get much of a bigger occasion than that for a young Aussie.

Yeah, I have certainly learned over time how to deal with big matches better. Obviously playing on bigger courts more often, you get used to it. For me now it's about going out there and just trying to play the other person on the net and not their reputation.

Q. Highest-ranked Aussie going into Melbourne, do you feel pressure or do you feel good knowing the whole crowd will be behind you?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, the support we get in Australia is amazing, regardless of whether I'm sitting here as No. 1 Aussie or one of the other, I don't know, maybe 20 that we have in the draw across men's and women's side. We get amazing support.

I'm very excited to go back to Melbourne. But there is no extra pressure on me. The only pressure is the pressure I put on myself to prepare and perform well and do that for myself and my team and then so the Australian public can enjoy it as well.

Q. Simona was praising your slice backhand. How important is that in your game?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's no secret anymore. I think a lot of girls know that when they are playing me I'm going to bring out the slice as much as possible. Some more than others.

I think against Simona it's a big point of difference. It certainly doesn't get me any free points, but it changes the tempo and allows me to control the point a little bit better.

Q. Are you feeling better about your game?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, yes and know. I think there is still a hell of a lot of room for improvement. I think that's what's the most exciting thing. We get to keep chipping away every single day to try to get better and be the best that we can be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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