MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ash Barty has been eyeing unseeded American Shelby Rogers’ challenge to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third year in a row, with an impressive 6-3 6-4 win on Monday .
The world’s number one has tried to stave off the conversation that she could end Australia’s 43-year wait for a homegrown champion on Saturday, but she seemed the title contender in every way when she was the last. eight entered without dropping a set.
With no fuss until Thursday at the earliest due to the five-day blocking of the coronavirus in Melbourne and no Australian men left in the singles draw, Barty has the hopes of organizers and fans alike on her shoulders.
Were not finished yet, said Barty, who lost in the semi-finals at her home Grand Slam last year.
It’s exciting to be back in a Grand Slam quarter-final, especially here in Australia … but certainly not satisfied with where we were at the moment.
We will keep chipping and trying to do the right things to get as far ahead as possible.
The 24-year-old looked like she had all the means to maintain local interest in tennis for another five days as she pitted a quarterfinal against Czech Karolina Muchova.
Rogers played quarter-finals at two Grand Slams and made a habit of upsetting high-ranking players, but she was unable to get enough of a grip on Barty’s serve to factor her high-quality returns.
The Australian confused the direction of her service to defuse her opponents’ largest weapon – the American got only 61% of her proceeds in court – and used her struck forehands and trademark backhand slice with great success.
I knew it would be vital to serve well tonight, Barty added. That was something I really wanted to focus on, just to give myself a chance to get more points under control.
A break in serve for 3-1 after a long rally was enough for the 2019 French Open champion to win the first set in less than half an hour and she picked up two more to lead 5-1 in the second.
Barty hesitated for the first time with the win in sight, but went to the big winners too early and allowed Rogers to take back one of the stoppages from the serve.
The best seed grabbed her second chance to finish the game with both hands two games later, progressing as Rogers let fly a long backhand volley.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, edited by Peter Rutherford and Pritha Sarkar
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