The last Aussie standing in the Australian Open singles main draw, Ashleigh Barty has made it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. She lost the first set against Maria Sharapova but was able to come back to win 4-6 6-1 6-4.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 20: Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates winning her fourth round match against Maria Sharapova of Russia during day seven of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
The first break point to be brought up was in favour of Sharapova, but Barty was able to hold. Then in the next game, Barty hit a sharply angled shot cross court to bring up a break point at 3-4. Sharapova got to deuce with a big serve down the T that Barty hit into the net.
The Australian hit a backhand just wide to give Sharapova advantage. Sharapova then missed back-to-back shots to again face a break point. The five-time Grand Slam winner again went big down the T and Barty hit just out as she stretched for the ball. The next point saw a 21 shot rally in which it was Barty that finally cracked, hitting a slice long. Sharapova finally held to level the set at 4-4.
Barty took the first point with a forehand that just tagged the line, a big serve the next point saw Sharapova hit long. Barty racked up unforced error no. 17 to go 15-30. Another miss and Barty was facing two break points.
Sharapova takes the first set
Barty went on the attack and finally won the point with a smash after 13 shots. At deuce Barty double-faulted then compounded the error with another unforced error when she hit long to concede the game. Sharapova would then be serving for the first set. The Russian won the set with an ace.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 20: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand in her fourth round match against Ashleigh Barty of Australia during day seven of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Barty came back for the second set even stronger. A double fault by Sharapova brought up a break point for the Australian at 1-2, which she was able to convert when Sharapova hit the ball into the net.
From there, Barty continued to win all the next games, where another shot into the net by Sharapova when she had break point against her gave Barty the double break to lead 5-2. Barty then served out the set, and closed it with a powerful serve that Sharapova was unable to return.
Barty won all the next games, as the Russian continued to struggle with her serve, particularly when on the Southern end of the court as she competed with the sun on her ball tosses. Barty was up a double break in this deciding set at 4-0, but Sharapova was no going down just yet.
The Australian had the opportunity to break Sharapova in the fifth game, to lead 5-0 and then serve for the match, but Sharapova was able to hold and end Barty’s nine-game winning streak. A shot sent long by Barty then allowed Sharapova to break the Australian’s serve for the first time since the first set 4-2.
Barty had another chance to break to then serve for the match, but once again couldn’t convert the break points. Sharapova then had the chance to put the games back on serve, but she was also unable to convert the points. There were no more break points for the match as Barty had two match points when she finally got the chance to serve out the match.
Barty Serving for the match
Sharapova saved the first match point with a forehand winner, and then Barty double-faulted to give away the other. The Australian then hit an ace that was just in by a millimetre to bring up a third match point, but she sent the next ball into the net. A backhand unforced error by Sharapova brought up a fourth match point for Barty, and she finally won the match with an ace.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 20: Ashleigh Barty of Australia plays a backhand in her fourth round match against Maria Sharapova of Russia during day seven of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Barty has become just the fourth Australian female to make it to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park, and the first since Jelena Dokic in 2009, ending a dry spell for the Australians.
Sydney International Final repeat
In the quarterfinals, Barty plays Petra Kvitova, a two-time Grand Slam champion and the no. 8 seed. The two only just played each other in the Sydney International Final less than 48 hours before the beginning of the Australian Open. Kvitova beat Barty in the final and now is hoping to continue her nine-match winning streak and make it to the semi-final of the Australian Open for the first time since 2012. Barty is looking to get her revenge on Kvitova after the defeat in Sydney and continue her golden run at her home Grand Slam.
The video above has the highlights from the round four match between Ashleigh Barty and Maria Sharapova.