Barty enters uncharted waters in Melbourne

Ashleigh Barty (pic) will have to do her research on second round opponent Polona Hercog.
Ashleigh Barty (pic) will have to do her research on second round opponent Polona Hercog.

For all her accomplishments, Ashleigh Barty will enter uncharted waters when she resumes her Australian Open campaign on Wednesday.

Australia's top seed plays world No.48 Polona Hercog for a place in the third round in what will be Barty's first meeting with the tattooed Slovenian.

A long-time resident of the top 50 without ever reaching the second week of a major, Hercog will be backing up after Tuesday's rain-delayed 6-3 6-3 win over Swede Rebecca Peterson.

"It's always good to have a day in between to work on some things but it's nothing we can change. I'm going to do my best to be as fresh as possible for tomorrow," Hercog said.

The 29-year-old's best grand slam results came more than a decade ago in the juniors when she teamed with Barty's compatriot Jessica Moore to win the 2008 French Open and Wimbledon girls' doubles titles..

But she still hopes to trouble the top seed and big home hope.

"I can serve well, I can be aggressive, I can defend well," Hercog said.

"I think I have a lot of good things in my game. I'm just going to go out there, try to enjoy it as much as possible, try to do everything in my power to make it a good match.

After needing three sets to see off Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in her opener on Monday night, Barty won't be taking the higher-ranked Hercog lightly.

Barty was leaving 2019 WTA coach of the year Craig Tyzzer to study up on the Slovenian.

But the French Open champion also has her trusted first mentor Jim Joyce to call on if need be after he made the trip from Brisbane to monitor his star ex-charge's Open journey.

"Yeah, it's always nice to have Jim here. I actually saw him in Brisbane, asked him if he was coming down," Barty said.

"Didn't know if he was or not. I know he's always a sounding board if and when I need it.

"He doesn't have a lot to say these days. He's happy to just kind of sit back and watch. Obviously he has full trust in 'Tyz'. I have full trust in 'Tyz'.

"But it's always nice knowing that when we need to work on something, he's only ever a phone call away. He can usually fix it across the phone - he's, yeah, pretty bloody good."

Victory over Hercog would advance Barty into a likely third-round meeting with 2020 Hobart champion Elena Rybakina, the 29th seed from Kazakhstan.

Australian Associated Press