Rum City plays part in rise of champion
TENNIS: Roland Garros might be more than 16,000km away from Bundaberg but the Rum City played its part in creating a new grand slam champion.
Queenslander Ash Barty yesterday became the first Australian in 46 years to win the French Open women's singles title after beating Czech player Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.
She is the first Aussie in eight years to win a grand slam singles title, after Sam Stosur won the US Open in 2011.
It was in 2011 when Barty visited the Rum City at the beginning of her journey to become the current world No.2.
Barty started her career in professional singles in her home town of Ipswich in 2010, losing to Karolina Wlodarczak in straight sets in her first ever match. Her debut was on clay, the same surface that led to her first grand slam singles title.
Almost a year later, Barty was in Bundaberg after already making a semi-final and quarter-final in other events around Australia on hard courts.
Bundaberg was her second clay tournament of her career and her seventh overall.
But it is one of which she probably won't have fond memories.
Barty won her two qualifying matches, 6-4 6-0 over Annabelle Andrinopoulos and 6-1 6-2 over Yumi Miyazaki, to get into the main draw.
Her tournament ended in the first round, losing to Slovakian Zuzana Zlochova 6-4 6-4.
Barty also played doubles but lost in the first round with New South Wales player Abbie Myers.
It was to be her only appearance in Bundaberg, with the Rum City losing the ITF event in 2014 and Barty not playing in the 2012 and 2013 events.