Dubai: Australia tennis player Ashleigh Barty, who reached the quarterfinals of ongoing Australian Open, once turned her hands to cricket and represented Brisbane Heat in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) season.

The 22-year-old had taken a break from tennis for 18 months in 2014. Barty, who played nine games in the first WBBL, said her time away from the game has made her a better tennis player. “I needed to take that time away. For me, having that 18 months off was vital. I feel like I came back a better person on and off the court, a better tennis player,” ICC quoted Barty, as saying.

“There has never a lonesome moment on the cricket field if you are struggling. There are 10 other girls that can help you out and get you through the tough times,” she had said after signing for Heat.

Barty’s best performance for Heat came against Melbourne Stars, scoring quickfire 39 off 27 balls. She went onto amass 68 runs in seven innings in the tournament before switching her focus back to tennis. She had won the US Open title with CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States in doubles event last year.

Barty has now become the first Australian woman after Jelena Dokic to make the Australian Open quarterfinal, defeating Russian tennis legend Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday.

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