Australian Open: Barty 'not done yet' as world number one chases Melbourne glory

By Sports Desk February 15, 2021

A third consecutive Australian Open quarter-final beckons for Ash Barty but the world number one is far from satisfied as she eyes a drought-ending title in Melbourne.

Barty produced a masterclass to blitz American Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4 in the fourth round on Monday.

Not since Wendy Turnbull in 1984 has an Australian woman reached three successive quarter-finals or more at Melbourne Park, where Barty will meet Karolina Muchova in the last eight.

But 2019 French Open champion Barty is dreaming big as she looks to become the first Australian woman since 1978 to take the title.

"We're not done yet," Barty,a semi-finalist last year, said. "Obviously it's exciting to be in another quarter-final of a grand slam, particularly here in Australia.

"If we had looked at the way we were preparing during our pre-season, to have the start that we have had so far is really encouraging, but certainly not satisfied with where we're at at the moment. 

"We will keep chipping away and keep trying to do the right things to progress as far as we can."

Barty arrived in Melbourne at the start of the year having not played in a competitive WTA Tour event since February 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about the prolonged break, Barty – who stepped away from tennis in 2014 before returning in 2016 after playing cricket – said: "I think I know that I've done the work. I know that we prepared in the right way during the pre-season. 

"We've done all the work to try to give myself the opportunity to play a good level of tennis and to a level that I know I'm capable of. It's just knowing that I put the trust in the work that we've done, more than surprising myself.

"I think I've known that I've done the work. I have the ability to play at this level and then it's just about going about all of our processes, our routines the right way. All of those came back quite naturally.

"It's something that I've practiced a lot, and I gain my confidence from that practice and from those preseasons as opposed to just match results."

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    Madison Keys moved into her first grand slam semi-final since 2018 with a straight-sets win over Barbora Krejcikova at the Australian Open.

    Keys overcame Czech fourth seed Krejcikova 6-3 6-2 in hot conditions on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.

    After a hard-fought 50-minute first set, Keys handled the heat the better of the two, closing out a deserved victory.

    The win booked Keys a first major semi-final since the 2018 US Open and fifth of her career, with either Ash Barty or Jessica Pegula awaiting her.

    After claiming just 11 match victories in 2021, Keys is on a 10-match winning streak, although she was challenged by Krejcikova, particularly early on.

    A pair of break points went begging for Keys in the second game before she dug herself out of a 15-40 hole to hold for 2-1.

    Keys held after a gruelling 18-point fifth game, one which looked set to be hugely important, after saving four break points.

    Another lengthy game followed as opportunities, this time for Keys, came and went before Krejcikova sent a forehand wide to hand the American a 4-2 lead.

    Krejcikova took a medical timeout at 2-5, but there was no stopping Keys taking the first set in 50 minutes.

    The unforced errors continued to come from Krejcikova and a tame backhand into the net handed Keys a break in the opening game of the second set.

    Looking increasingly weary, Krejcikova was broken to love in the third game, although the French Open champion did get one of those breaks back immediately.

    Krejcikova continued to fight, but Keys powered away, breaking for 5-2 on her way to the last four.

     

    DATA SLAM: Keys lands top-five win

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    Keys – 27/21
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    "I was really tight. My hand was shaking when I started serving. I didn't make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure.
     
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    After sealing a 14th career victory over a top-10 opponent, with her second win in a row against Sabalenka, Kanepi is now relishing Wednesday's battle with Swiatek.

    That will pit the youngest and oldest remaining players left in the draw against each other, with 20-year-old Swiatek having earlier defeated Sorana Cirstea in three sets.

    "I haven't watched her, I never played her, and I don't know how her ball feels, so we'll see when I play her," Kanepi said of her next opponent. "What I expect is to play good."

    Kanepi is one of six Australian Open quarter-final debutants remaining, with top seed Ash Barty and Madison Keys the only two to have previously reached this stage.

  • Australian Open: Wound-up Medvedev through after 'crazy' fourth set Australian Open: Wound-up Medvedev through after 'crazy' fourth set

    Daniil Medvedev's temper threatened to boil over during his match against Maxime Cressy, as the world number two reflected on a "crazy" final set.

    Medvedev beat Cressy 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 on Monday to ensure his place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

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    Indeed, Medvedev was extremely tense in the fourth and what proved to be final set, as he squandered eight chances to break before finally doing so to nudge himself into a 6-5 lead. 

    His temper frayed at 2-2, however, with Medvedev shouting: "It's simply unbelievable how lucky he is. I've never seen anything like this in my life."

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    "He really did [serve and volley] well," Medvedev said. "First set I had control, but the second set I didn't manage to break him but won the tie-break and just wanted to continue this way.

    "When I lost the third [set] and when I had eight break points in the fourth set, I was like, come on. Some of them I could have won, but he played well, but on the last one I played well.

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    Medvedev has defeated the 21-year-old Canadian in all three of their previous meetings on the ATP Tour, including in his successful run to US Open glory last year, and in the ATP Cup earlier this month.

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