Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Barty reaches Melbourne quarters with win over Sharapova

Sharapova-cropped Getty Images
Andrew Wong | 20 January, 2019, 13:41

What they call a Barty party in this neck of the woods broke out when Ashleigh Barty edged to a nerve-shredding win over Maria Sharapova to make the Australian Open quarter finals.

Barty finally sealed victory on her fourth match point with her sixth ace.

For those unaware of the full story to Sharapova's doping ban, the reporter who asked Sunday's question was correct in that it was legally taken by the five-time grand slam victor for nearly the entirety of her career.

But Barty, roared on by raucous support at Rod Laver Arena, fought back to break twice in the second set and level the match as unforced errors crept into the Russian's game.

"Sitting down with my team late a year ago, it was one of the goals we set out that we wanted to go deep into slams and I feel like that was the next step for me", Barty said.

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Both players raced out of the blocks, exchanging high-quality rallies before Sharapova gradually ratcheted up the pressure she needed to take the opening set 6-4.

Russia's Maria Sharapova leaves Rod Laver Arena after losing her fourth round match to Australia's Ashleigh Barty. "She moves good. For me, it was not my day, not my good tennis, but credit to her, she played a good match".

"This is unreal, playing on this attractive court in front a packed house, there's nothing better".

The Australian lost her last meeting to Kvitova in Sydney before the year's first Grand Slam.

"I was hoping that I'd just win a first-round match, so getting this far means a lot to me", she said. In the immediate aftermath of the match, Barty acknowledged the crowd and was walking back to her bench.

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On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she aims for Grand Slam number 24.

But the time away saw Barty emerge as a much more mature person and this is reflected in her mental approach to the game.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber suffered a stunning 6-0 6-2 defeat by unseeded American Danielle Collins in the tournament's biggest shock of the women's draw. "I definitely had a letdown for many games straight, gave her that confidence".

The Russian's astonishing collapse continued with another pair of double-faults which gifted Barty a 4-0 lead in the third set.

"For me, my processes and routines don't change", she said.

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She said: "I'm kind of a different person". She got 86 percent of her first serves into play, and won all but five of the points when she did.

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