MELBOURNE, Australia—Ashleigh Barty won her first main-draw Grand Slam match in three years on Monday, upsetting Annika Beck in the first round of the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old Aussie left the WTA tour in 2015 and decided to pursue a career in cricket. Last year she decided to play tennis again, and now, back on the big stage, she says she hasn’t changed a lot from her early days on tour.

“I think I'm the same person, just a slightly different version—a more mature version,” she said. “But I think you guys can decide that one, see how different I am, how I look, feel, whatnot. No, I definitely think I'm the same person.”


In Brisbane, she pushed world No. 1 Angelique Kerber to three sets in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 loss.

She is currently ranked No. 223 in singles. Before her comeback, Barty and Casey Dellacqua reached three Grand Slam doubles finals in 2013. The 5-foot-5 former phenom came back in June and reached the quarterfinals in Nottingham. She trained from July to November, and now says she is stronger.

“I think it's the difference between being 17 and being 20,” she said. “Obviously I've developed a lot in the last few years, have matured a lot. Now I'm, sort of, not a little kid anymore. But I think that's probably the biggest difference.”