Wed, 18 May 2022

Ashleigh Barty breezes into quarters at Australian Open

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2022, 02:19 GMT+10

Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty advanced to her fourth straight Australian Open quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Amanda Anisimova on Sunday in Melbourne.

Barty continued her quest to become the first Australian to win the tournament since Chris O'Neil in 1978 after dispatching the 60th-ranked American in 74 minutes. She did so by recording seven aces to overcome 17 unforced errors and three double faults.

Barty will square off against No. 21 seed Jessica Pegula, who punched her ticket to the final eight of the tournament for the second straight season with a 7-6 (0), 6-3 upset of fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Pegula is no stranger to Barty, who posted a 6-3, 6-3 win over the American in the first round of the 2019 French Open. Barty went on to win the title.

"(Pegula is) able to hold the baseline really well. Her swings are quite linear and she gets a racquet behind the ball and swings through the path," Barty said. "The ball comes at you at a different trajectory, and her ability to absorb pace and then add to it when she wants to is exceptional. It's going to be a challenge for me to try and push her off that baseline and make her uncomfortable and feel like she has to create."

Barty overcame 3-2 deficits in both sets against the 20-year-old Anisimova.

Barty also didn't place much emphasis on dropping a serve for the first time in eight matches.

"It didn't bother me too much," she said. "Honestly, I'm not counting how many games I hold in a row or not. The fact I was able to reset, break straight back, was really important, just to be able to reset myself, go again and continue to do the right things."

Pegula benefited from winning 64 percent of her second serves to dismiss Sakkari in 1 hour, 35 minutes. By contrast, Sakkari won just 34 percent of her second-service points.

"It was a little hot out there today, so I didn't really want to kind of play a lot of long points," Pegula said. "I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chances to. Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match, I think."

Sakkari fell short of becoming the first Greek woman to reach the Australian Open quarterfinal.

Also on Sunday, Madison Keys cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over eighth-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain and fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 win over 24th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

--Field Level Media

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