Fantastic win from Mel against the type of player that can break her game down and generally a great couple of days here. Hope she can make it count and gain a win in the main draw.
Watched her match against Barrois and was very impressed. Mel doesn't compromise at all and any ball she can get a hit on she pounds. Barrois likes more time on the ball and has lovely fluid shots but Mel's pace was hurting her. Barrois was trying to mix it up with slice and drop shots but to be honest Mel was more than up to it seeming unbothered by the variation of spin and making all of Barrois' dropshots.
The first set was close all the way but Mel kept hammering the ball and eventually broke Barrois down. The courts bounced low and fast which really suits Mel's game. In the second game of the second set Mel played an incredible point at break point retrieving a smash and volley before whipping a forehand passing shot cross court that stunned everyone and sent the crowd while. Mel held easily after that and Barrois then seemed at a complete loss as to what to do. She called her coach who was sat on the opposite side of the court and had to run all the way round the netting to get to her by which time he had hardly any of the changeover left to speak to his player which incensed Barrois who had been gesturing for him to jump over the net and cross the court. After that the result was never in doubt.
Been a couple of years since I've seen Mel play and she's matured a lot. Last time I saw her she was still whacking the ball as hard as she could but it was as likely to be a wild error as it was a winner. In Sydney her unforced error count was so low and when she was in trouble instead of hitting her way out of it she would throw in a slice or loopy ball to get herself back in the point and work it until she could be aggressive. Her movement was a million times better than when I last watched as well which must be a contributing factor to her rise last year. The first serve is great, the second doesn't have much margin for error and would prefer to see her develop some spin on it to make it a bit easier on herself. She is still as extremely feisty and very pumped up and can do some damage on this surface.
After disappointment last week she looks in great form here and exciting start to the year.