Australia’s Ash Barty took to Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day with the eyes of the nation on her. She faced Alison Riske who had defeated Barty at Wimbledon.
Barty jumped out to an early lead moving to 3-0. She was close to taking a 4-0 lead before Riske was able to fight to hold serve.
The world no. 19 American would break to close in to 3-2 before Barty broke to surge again. The world no. 1 took the opening set 6-3.
The second set was all Riske as she dominated Barty to take the set 6-1.
In the deciding set games went with serve before Barty broke Riske for a 3-1 lead. She then held a 4-1 advantage before Riske fought back to see the score at 4-4.
Barty had the advantage of serving first in the third set and was a game away after holding for 5-4. Barty then put the pressure on Riske by moving out to match point at 30-40.
A double fault saw Barty let out a roar to celebrate victory. The Rod Laver Arena crowd also roared in unison to signal Barty’s return to the Australian Open quarter finals where she will again meet Petra Kvitova.
At the 2019 Open it was Kvitova that defeated Barty before the Czech player lost in the final against Naomi Osaka.
Since Barty lost to Kvitova at that Australian Open in 2019 she has won three times over Kvitova. The world no. 1 will be looking to keep that streak alive by claiming her first Australian Open semifinal berth.