Australia’s Ash Barty has gone all the way to grand slam finals at all four grand slam tournaments in doubles. In singles, she was yet to go beyond the third round.
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Photos: NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 31: Ashleigh Barty of Australia returns the ball during her women’s singles third round match against Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
That changed today when Barty moved past Czech player Karolina Muchova, the last remaining qualifier in the draw. In round two Muchova had upset no. 12 seed Garbine Muguruza. In this match Barty won 6-3, 6-4 against a player in her maiden grand slam event.
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Photo: NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 31: Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic returns the ball during her women’s singles third round match against Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
In both sets the Australian no. 18 seed was in a more commanding position than the score suggest. Barty was up 4-1 in the first set and 5-1 in the second set.
“It’s really cool,” Barty told the press, regarding her first Grand Slam fourth-round showing. “I felt like we haven’t been far off a few times now, but to finally get this, it’s pretty cool.”
The Australian used her first serve as the key to victory, winning nearly 80 percent of points when she got it into play.
“The whole summer, I felt like I’ve served pretty well,” said Barty. “So when I can hit my spots on serve and try and dominate the court with my forehand as best I can, I feel like I can control most of my service games.”
Barty took two attempts to serve her way into the fourth round. The first time she tightened up and let Muchova back into the match. The second time Muchova helped to ease the pressure when she hit a shot into the net to gift Barty a 15-0 lead. A well-constructed point saw Barty draw Muchova into the net before chipping over her head, the next shot from Muchova was volleyed away for 30-0. A well-hit forehand that forced an error from Muchova saw Barty with three match points.
Barty needed all the match points she had earned after letting Muchova back to 40-30 with back-to-back errors, but on match point no. 5 Barty hit a forehand winner to seal the win.
Barty served at 68% and won 73% of her first serve points. She had 28 unforced errors to 38 and hit 20 winners to 18.
Up next is former world no. 1 Karolina Pliskova, also from the Czech Republic.