• Ash Barty in action against Laura Siegemund of Germany during their second round match of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (EPA POOL)Source: EPA POOL
World No. 1 Ash Barty has won her first match in Europe for 21 months, defeating former champ Laura Siegemund in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.
Ian Chadband

22 Apr 2021 - 12:32 PM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2021 - 12:32 PM

LONDON, AAP - Ash Barty has made a successul return to the clay courts of Europe after a near two-year absence, and reckons the experience brought a smile to her face. 

The world No. 1 defeated tough German Laura Siegemund in her first match on the indoor clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart to set up a quarter-final with either Karolina Pliskova or Jelena Ostepenko. 

She was given a belated test by the event's former champion before wrapping up an impressive 6-0 7-5 second-round victory on Wednesday. 

"Whoever I play next, either way, I'll come out here and try and bring the match on my terms - but do it with a smile on my face again," said Barty. 

Barty played a wonderfully accomplished 24-minute opening set, 'bagelling' her 33-year-old, who managed to win only 10 points. 

She expected a lot more from a renowned fighter like Siegemund - and the German duly obliged. 

Asked whether the second set was down to her taking the foot off the gas or to Siegemund, the 2017 champion, raising her game, Barty had no doubt. 

"Absolutely it was down to her. You have to give credit to your opponent and I think Laura did an exceptional job in changing the way she was playing.

"She made it difficult for me to get comfortable and she's a great competitor, she finds a way to get back into matches and she obviously loves playing on this court," said Barty. 

"So I knew it was never going to be easy, regardless of what the score was saying."

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