Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Barty party continues with Sakkari win

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates after beating Maria Sakkari at Melbourne Park Barty reaches fourth round with strong win over Sakkari
Andrew Wong | 20 January, 2019, 14:39

It might have been a tentative start from both Ash Barty and her Greek opponent on Rod Laver Arena, with both players giving up early breaks in the first set under the roof, but as many have come to expect from the young Australian, her poise and clutch shot-making came through at the right time.

Maria Sharapova overcame Caroline Wozniacki in a much anticipated third round match up at the Australian Open 2019.

However, the tempo will lift tenfold in the fourth round, where she will play either reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki or 2008 victor Maria Sharapova.

"It was just for a bit of reassurance while I was on court", Barty said.

Now through to her first Australian Open last 16 match, Barty will face Maria Sharapova in what she says will be another "big test" from which she won't back down.

He'll next play either six-time Australian titlist Roger Federer or American Taylor Fritz, who were playing on Rod Laver Arena around the same time.

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Barty had a medical time out after the first set but said the problem, which she did not disclose, was not a threat to her Open campaign.

The Greek benefited from a mis-hit from the Australian to break back immediately, but a succession of aggressive double faults allowed Barty to gain the upper hand and put one foot in the fourth round with the first set.

A sliced backhand drop-shot caught the rising Greek star by surprise and thereafter Barty won the psychological battle - even if there was to be a brief scare for her fans inside the Rod Laver Arena when she was treated by a physio between the two sets.

It is the first time that Barty has reached the fourth round in Melbourne, and she said on court afterwards: "This is incredible, it's an awesome sound in here when the roof is closed".

She held and then broke Sakkari for the fourth time in the match to move to a 5-1 advantage, before coolly serving out to ice her triumph.

Anisimova, ranked 87 in the world and appearing in only her third major, sent Sabalenka packing with the 6-3, 6-2 victory.

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Also Friday, No. 5 Sloane Stephens survived two tough tiebreak sets to beat No. 31 Petra Martic 7-6, 7-6.

Elsewhere there was an upset for 19th seed Caroline Garcia as American Danielle Collins beat her in straight sets to reach the next round, with a score of 6-3, 6-2.

Federer said he was looking forward to playing Tsitsipas in what will be their first head-to-head meeting on the ATP Tour, although they did face each other at the Hopman Cup earlier this month.

"It's another opportunity for me to go out and test myself against the world's best", she said.

"So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played".

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