Australian Open: Ash Barty into Quarter Finals
Ash Barty has staged a stirring fightback to storm into her maiden grand slam quarter-final with a drama-charged Australian Open victory over Maria Sharapova.
Barty overcame a nervy, error-riddled first set to defeat the five-times major winner and former world No.1 4-6 6-1 6-4 in a rousing fourth-round performance on Sunday.
The 22-year-old prevailed after two hours and 22 minutes amid unbearable tension after blowing a 4-0 lead in the deciding set.
Barty finally sealed victory on her fourth match point with her sixth ace.
“Yeah, it was a little bit close, wasn’t it?’ the relieved Queenslander said.
“I gave myself an opportunity in the third set in a lot of games and couldn’t take it.
“I had to take a deep breath and trust the work that I have done with my team. Go up and hit my spots and whatever happens, happens.
“She’s an absolute champion. She was never going to go away. I knew I had to keep chipping away, in a sense trust the work we’ve done.
“I know that I can match it with the best and when I execute I know I can.”
Australia’s first women’s quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park since Jelena Dokic a decade ago, the 15th-seeded Barty will play Czech world No.6 Petra Kvitova on Tuesday for a spot in the semi-finals.
Kvitova beat Barty in a third-set tiebreaker in the final of the Sydney International eight days ago.
“It doesn’t get any easier at all,” Barty said.
“It’s just another challenge and another opportunity for me to come out and try to play my best tennis.
“I have come agonisingly close against Petra before so I can come out and Tuesday, play a fun, free brand of tennis and see how we go.”
Sports Intern 98five Sonshine FM