Barty secures quarter final berth
World number one Ash Barty is through to the quarter finals of the 2021 Australian Open, defeated unseeded American Shelby Rogers in straight sets at Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.
Barty was at her clinical best for much of her 6-3, 6-4 triumph over the unseeded American on Rod Laver Arena on Monday evening, taking an hour and 11 minutes to book a spot in the last eight.
She only lost one service game against Rogers, surprisingly when she served for the match at 5-2 in the second set.
Barty will next play the 25th-seeded Karolina Muchova, who defeated Elise Mertens — the tournament's 18th seed — 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in their fourth-round encounter.
The top half of the draw continued to open up on Monday following the surprise exit of fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who lost to American Jessica Pegula in three sets.
Barty is the only seed inside the top 10 to reach the quarter-finals in her half.
The 24-year-old is looking to become the first Australian to win the women's singles championship since Chris O'Neil in 1978.
Barty did not post a double fault in the first set against Rogers, while also landing 75 per cent of her first serves in and chalking up three aces.
Despite the service break in the second set, she was still pleased with her overall performance.
"I knew it was going to be vital to serve well tonight," Barty said.
"That was something I really wanted to try and focus on, just to try and give myself a chance to be in control of more points."
Barty again wore a bandage and tape on her left thigh but as with her past two matches showed no signs of physical discomfort on court.
In contrast to her wins in the second and third rounds, Barty held serve in the opening game.
Rogers did likewise with her first service game but soon found herself chasing Barty, who quickly took command of the first set.
A cross-court forehand winner iced a break of the Rogers serve that saw Barty lead 3-1.
Rogers had two break points when she trailed 2-4 in the seventh game, but Barty refused to panic and got herself out of trouble to hold serve.
Barty made no mistake when serving for the first set 5-3, closing it out in just 29 minutes.
She was cruising to victory when she served at 5-2 in the second set with the luxury of two match points and a double break.
But Rogers, who gave Barty a stern test during their Yarra Valley Classic quarter-final earlier this month, did not roll over when staring at defeat.
She won four consecutive points to claim her first service break of the match before holding in the next game.
An unfazed Barty, however, rebounded by serving to love to earn a quarter-final berth against Muchova.
Barty, who won her previous encounter with Muchova in the third round of the 2018 US Open, said she expected a tough contest against the Czech.
"It will be a brilliant match," she said.
"I know she's got the ability to manoeuvre the ball all around the court, play with variety and play with shape."
In the other quarter finals Jessica Pegula will face fellow American Jennifer Brady for a spot in the semi-finals in the womens singles after defeating Donna Vekic.
Hsieh Su-wei of Korea will play Japan's Naomi Osaka in their quarter-final on Tuesday, while Simona Halep meets Serena Williams in a blockbuster match up at Rod Laver Arena.
On the men's side, No. 4 seed Russian Daniil Medvedev defeated unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 early Monday to set up a quarterfinal matchup with seventh-seeded countryman Andrey Rublev.
Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev advanced on Sunday to the quarterfinals, where he will face eight-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, giving the country three quarterfinalists in Melbourne.
Stefanos Tsitsipas had a walkover win in his fourth round match with opponent Mario Berettini unable to take to the court because of injury, while Rafael Nadal overcame Italian Fabio Fognini in straight sets, Tsitsipas to play Nadal in a mouthwatering quarter-final on Wednesday.
The mens quarterfinals start on Tuesday with Grigor Dimitrov and Aslan Karatsev, followed by reigning champion Novak Djokovic and Germany's Alexander Zverev, Russian pair Rublev and Daniil Medvedev to square off in the other quarter-final on Wednesday.
IMAGE: WTA Tennis.