Ash Barty knows she must raise her game after seeing off a spirited challenge from teenage prodigy Clara Tauson to move into the US Open third round in New York.
There were shades of Barty’s first-round struggles against Vera Zvonareva before the world No.1 closed out a 6-1 7-5 win to book a date on Sunday with American Shelby Rogers.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida that swept through the northeast of America, flooded Flushing Meadows and killed at least 25 people delayed some matches on day four by an hour.
“It was pretty devastating last night,” Barty said.
“Seemed like a lot of rain, but trying to grasp what was happening here on-site was quite unbelievable, and I know that there has been a lot of flash flooding and a lot of people in trouble.
“For us, it took us a while to get in this morning but we kind of allowed for that time, expecting there would be a little bit more of an issue than just a normal commute coming in.
“We just got on with it.”
It was slow going on court too early on for Barty, who needed 10 break points in a marathon 13-minute second game to break Tauson and stamp her authority.
Shifting gears, the Wimbledon champion then raced to a 5-0 lead before the 18-year-old former junior world No.1 found her rhythm and range.
Just as she did against Zvonareva in her tournament opener, Barty faltered trying to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set.
“It’s happened a few times, but I have won 40-odd matches (this year) and it hasn’t happened a lot,” Barty said.
“It’s just a few of those games I haven’t been able to get up and hit my spots on first serves.
“When you give good players looks at second serves, you’re going to get hurt. It’s simple as that. It’s not a concern.”
Straight back to business, Barty avoided a tiebreaker by breaking the Dane for a fifth time to clinch victory on her third match point.
“Being able to respond straight away was a big part of that match, just refocusing and narrowing my focus and remembering what I needed to do to win as opposed to getting flat and passive where I was letting her control a little bit too much,” the top seed said.
“There’s room for improvement, without a doubt, but there’s room for improvement every single day.
“We’ll go back and have a chat about the matches and, once we get back on the practice court, try and fix a few things up, trust myself and trying to continue to play how I want to play.”
Barty has beaten Rogers four times already this year, but needed three sets in two of those wins.
Another victory over the world No.43 will vault Australia’s two-time grand slam champion into a fourth-round clash with either English teenager Emma Raducanu or Sara Sorribes Tormo, the Spaniard who shocked Barty at the Tokyo Olympics.