Ash Barty returned to the French Open for the first time in two years and escaped with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 first-round win over US challenger Bernarda Pera on Tuesday

The Australian world No. 1 skipped the delayed Roland Garros edition played last October in autumn chill and humidity due to the COVID pandemic which  was won by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

Due to Australia’s continuing virus lockdown, Barty chose not to leave Oz tin 2020 to deal with the hassles of international travel, effectively giving away her title from the previous edition.

But she made the jump this spring, determined to get back onto the Tour.

“It was a tough decision to leave Oz but I’m grateful to be able to do what I love –  playing tennis.

“We are lucky to have the freedom to play. “

Barty needed an injury timeout after losing the second set to the 70th-ranked Pera.

The American missed here chance to close out an upset as barty kept the pressure on in the final set, breaking to end the match.

“It’s so special to be back on this court,” the winner said. “I was disappointed not to play last year. This court is very close to my heart.

“I just kept fighting and trying to stay in the match for as long as possible.”

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