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PARIS (Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty managed to play through an injury problem and stave off an upset against American Bernarda Pera with a 6-4 3-6 6-2 win in her opening match of the French Open on Tuesday.

Returning to the Philippe Chatrier court after her maiden Grand Slam win in 2019, the 25-year-old Australian seemed to be cruising against the 70th-ranked Pera when she was up 5-2 in the opening set.

Barty, who skipped the claycourt Grand Slam last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, started moving sluggishly thereafter, clearly bothered by an injury, and then took a medical timeout at the end of the second set after Pera levelled the match.

The Australian, who started the match with a heavily-strapped left thigh, kept fighting and found a way to victory and a second round meeting against either Magda Linette of Poland and Frenchwoman Chloe Paquet.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; editing by Christian Radnedge)