World number one Ashleigh Barty maintained her winning run in Miami with her best performance of the 2021 tournament to date dispatching of Elina Svitolina to book a spot in the final.

Barty defeated fifth seed Svitolina 6-3 6-3 in Thursday's semi-final, hitting 27 winners and breaking her Ukrainian opponent five times.

The Australian had been down a match point in her opening clash of this year's Miami Open against Kristina Kucova but the 2019 champion has responded to every challenge since.

However, Barty needed three sets to overcome both Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in earlier rounds before making more light work of Svitolina to make it 11 straight wins in Miami, given 2020's event was cancelled.

Barty will play 2019 U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's final after she defeated Naomi Osaka's conqueror Maria Sakkari 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) in Thursday's other semi-final.

"Yeah, I think it was," Barty said in her on-court interview when asked if it was her best match of the tournament.

"I think [with] Elina, you have to produce your best tennis. Happy with the way we were able to execute today."

Svitolina went into the match with a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over Barty, while the Australian had not played on foreign soil prior to the event since February 2020, opting to step away from the tour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the head-to-head we had, I almost see myself as the underdog, I really do," Barty said.

"It gives me the chance to go out there and play with freedom. To play not careless but carefree tennis."

Barty has reinforced her world number one ranking from Osaka, who lost to Sakkari in the quarters, by progressing this far although adding a second Miami Open title will be top priority.

The 24-year-old 2019 French Open champion had a medical timeout between sets to tend to a preexisting abdominal issue but said she would be fine for the decider on Saturday.

"Yeah, I was a little bit sore," she said. "I got some assistance with some tape on it. But knowing we’ve got a day to recover tomorrow, I promise you I’ll be right as rain and then we’ll be good to go."

Eighth seed Andreescu booked her place in the decider with a strong three-set victory over 23rd seed Sakkari in a match which finished in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Canadian won in two hours and 42 minutes in a match full of momentum shifts, as Andreescu won her fourth three-setter in five matches in Miami this week.

Ash Barty's grip on the world number one ranking remains for now after winning in three sets against seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka in the Miami Open quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The 2019 Miami Open champion defeated Sabalenka 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in humid conditions in South Florida to reach the last four, where the Australian will face fifth seed Elina Svitolina.

Svitolina won in the later match on Tuesday over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-2.

Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, did not drop her serve once against the Belarusian, saving seven break points throughout the match as she bids to retain her top ranking.

Barty is under threat from 2021 Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka for the number one ranking, with the Japanese also into the quarters.

The Australian will retain the top ranking by reaching the decider, regardless of second seed Osaka's results.

"It was a brilliant match today," Barty said in her on-court interview. "It was certainly the best level I’ve played for a long time and especially over a sustained period.

"Aryna really made me bring out my best stuff today. She’s an exceptional competitor."

Barty has now won 10 consecutive matches in Miami, dating back to her 2019 title with 2020's event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ukraine's Svitolina, ranked fifth in the world, reached the Miami Open semi-finals for the first time with her win over the unseeded Sevastova.

"I've always wanted to play well here in Miami," said Svitolina, who made last year's French Open quarter-finals.

"It's one of the biggest tournaments and playing here is always amazing, so I'm really pleased with the performance tonight."

World number two Naomi Osaka and defending champion Ash Barty advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Open.

Osaka reached the last eight at the WTA Premier event for the first time in her career thanks to Monday's straight-sets win over Elise Mertens.

World number one Barty overcame two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka in a tough three-set battle in Miami.

 

THERE'S NO STOPPING OSAKA

Australian Open champion Osaka extended her winning streak to a remarkable 23 matches.

Osaka defeated 16th seed Mertens 6-3 6-3 to stay hot – Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Azarenka are the only other players with winning streaks of 23 or more matches since 2000.

"It definitely feels very special," four-time major winner Osaka said. "This is one of my favourite tournaments to play, and of course I'm sad I hadn't been able to get to the second week the last times that I have played this tournament. But I'm here now, and hopefully it will go well this time."

Maria Sakkari is next for Osaka after the 23rd seed saved six match points in her 6-4 2-6 7-6 (8-6) win over Jessica Pegula.

 

BARTY WINS BATTLE OF PAST AND PRESENT NUMBER ONES

In a rollercoaster battle, top seed Barty prevailed 6-1 1-6 6-2 against 14th seed Azarenka.

Barty extended her winning streak in Miami to nine matches after coming out on top against the former world number one.

"Playing against Vika you have to be ready right from the first point," Barty said. "I felt like I did that well in the first set and she gave me a few cheap errors. Then through the second she lifted her intensity.

"I probably wasn't sharp enough in those first couple of games to be able to go with her, particularly with new balls. When Vika is ahead and she's a front runner, she's the very best in the world."

Aryna Sabalenka stands in the way of Barty and the semi-finals after the seventh seed trounced Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-2.

 

SVITOLINA WINS THRILLER, ANDREESCU RALLIES

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina rallied past two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 2-6 7-5 7-5.

Svitolina made a slow start against the red-hot ninth seed, but the 2018 WTA Finals champion finished strongly to progress.

Anastasija Sevastova took down Ana Konjuh 6-1 7-5 to set up a clash with Svitolina.

Meanwhile, eighth seed and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu came from behind to defeat two-time slam winner Garbine Muguruza 3-6 6-3 6-2.

World number one Ash Barty moved through to the last 16 of the Miami Open, where Simona Halep's campaign came to a premature end.

Defending champion and top seed Barty was too good for Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday's showdown between the former French Open winners.

Two-time grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka also moved through to the fourth round of the WTA Premier tournament.

Halep, however, succumbed to a shoulder injury in Miami.

 

CLASH OF PAST AND PRESENT NUMBER ONES

Barty and former world number one Azarenka will go head-to-head for a place in the quarter-finals.

Australian star Barty accounted for Ostapenko 6-3 6-2 as she extended her winning streak at the Miami Open to eight matches.

Barty, who tallied nine winners to 14 unforced errors, rallied from 2-0 down in the second set by reeling off six successive games to advance.

"Today felt like I was a lot sharper and switched on and ready to go from the very first point," Barty said afterwards.

Three-time Miami champion Azarenka trumped Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-2 in the third round.

Azarenka – the 14th seed – fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set to get the better of the three-time major winner.

"She's a very talented player. I always have been a huge fan of her game and the way she plays, the way she handles herself. She has a lot of variety," Azarenka said on facing Barty. "She has pretty much every single shot there is. [It's] going to be a great match."

 

INJURED HALEP PULLS OUT

Two-time grand slam champion Halep withdrew due to a shoulder injury as Anastasija Sevastova benefited from a walkover.

"I'm very sorry to I have to pull out of the singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn't let me play here as expected," said Halep.

"I'm sad that I can't continue, I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately I can't. 

"Hopefully next year I will come back healthy and better."

Next up for Sevastova is wildcard Ana Konjuh, who stunned 15th seed and reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek 6-4 2-6 6-2.

 

SVITOLINA AND SABALENKA ROLL ON

Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the round of 16 after overcoming fellow seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova stands in the way of a quarter-final berth – the ninth seed was too good for 17th seed Johanna Konta 6-1 6-2.

Seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, prevailed 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against Veronika Kudermetova.

Belinda Bencic – the 11th seed – was sent packing 4-6 6-4 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova, who will take on Sabalenka.

Ash Barty completed a great escape to stay alive at the Miami Open, where Simona Halep also progressed.

Barty faced a match point but the defending champion and world number one dug deep to prevail in three sets against Kristina Kucova on Thursday.

Romanian third seed Halep also needed three sets at the WTA Premier tournament in Miami.

 

BARTY PRODUCES COMEBACK

In her first match outside of Australia in more than 12 months, Barty survived to top qualifier Kucova in Miami.

Barty trailed 5-2 in the third set, with Kucova earning a match point at 5-3 but the Australian star saved it and won the final five games of the match to secure a spot in the round of 32.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty sent down an equal career-high 15 aces in two-and-a-half hours.

"Today was really hard work, and I enjoyed every single minute of it," Barty said on court post-game. "There’s nothing like coming through a test like that, and now I get another opportunity in a couple days' time to play another tough match and test myself again."

Next up for Barty is 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, who outlasted Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 5-7 6-3.

 

HALEP REACHES MILESTONE

Halep brought up her 400th WTA main-draw triumph with a 3-6 6-4 6-0 victory over France's Caroline Garcia.

After dropping the opening set, Halep won 11 of the final 12 games to move through to the next round.

Halep won in one hour, 48 minutes, drastically improving on her first serve after the opening set while coming to grips with Garcia's kick serve.

"I needed time to get used to it and to get the rhythm," Halep said about Garcia's serve having improved her head-to-head record to 7-1, with Anastasija Sevastova awaiting in the last 32 after eliminating American sensation Coco Gauff.

Halep received attention on her shoulder early in the second. "I struggled with my serve," Halep said. "I struggled with my shoulder a little bit, so the attention was a little bit on the pain. [After that] I started to relax myself."

 

KERBER'S DOUBLE BAGEL

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber has been up and down in recently, but she flexed her muscles with a 6-0 6-0 humiliation of Renata Zarazua.

Aryna Sabalenka – the seventh seed – was another one to fend off match points before rallying 0-6 6-3 7-6 (11-9) past Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova in a gutsy.

Last year's French Open champion Iga Swiatek knocked off Barbora Krejcikova 6-4 6-2, while ninth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got past Aliza Cornet 6-0 6-4.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina survived to beat Shelby Rogers 3-6 7-5 6-3 and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka benefited from a walkover.

Sloane Stephens ended her losing run to start the year with a hard-fought three-set win over France's Oceane Dodin in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Former US Open champion Stephens, ranked 49th in the world, defeated Dodin 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2.

Stephens progresses to the second round where the top seeds, including top three Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, will be introduced and she will face 28th seed Amanda Anisimova.

Danielle Collins, Wang Qiang, Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia were among the other winners on Wednesday, while Svetlana Kuznetsova bowed out.

 

SLOANE FIGHTBACK

Stephens had endured a dismal start to 2021, enduring an 0-4 win-loss record to begin the year.

The 28-year-old American was made to do it the hard way against Dodin on Wednesday, dropping the first set in a tie-break.

Stephens improved on her return in the second set, winning 73 per cent of points off Dodin's second serve before running away with the match in the last.

"It's been a rough one for me lately, so I'm really pleased to get through that, fight my way through it and make it happen somehow," Stephens said post-match.

FORMER MAJOR WINNER GONE

Two-time grand slam winner Kuznetsova was the major first-round casualty, going down 2-6 6-2 6-1 to France's Alize Cornet.

Kuznetsova, who is now ranked 35th in the world, bows out with Cornet to face ninth seed Petra Kvitova.

Collins got past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-3 with the 40th-ranked American setting up a second-round clash with 32nd seed Veronika Kudermetova.

Wang, ranked 38th in the world, also progressed despite dropping a set in a 6-1 3-6 6-3 win over Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova.

SECOND-ROUND MATCH-UPS

The round of 64 will commence on Thursday, with third seed Halep to face Garcia who got past another Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-2.

Top seed Barty will be in action against Slovakia's Kristina Kucova, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin will take on former top-10 player Andrea Petkovic.

Second seed Osaka has an assignment against 77th-ranked Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, while 14th seed Victoria Azarenka is already into the third round with opponent Laura Siegemund withdrawing after her win on Tuesday.

Ash Barty crashed out of the Adelaide International at her first hurdle after going down in straight sets to Danielle Collins.

It took only 65 minutes for American Collins to defeat the defending champion and world number one in a 6-3 6-4 triumph.

Barty, who had a bye in the first round, did have opportunities, breaking in the first game of the match and building a 4-1 lead in the second set.

But on both occasions Collins stormed back, claiming her first win in four attempts against home favourite Barty, who had beaten her in the semi-finals of last year's tournament.

Coco Gauff continued her fine run to reach a first WTA quarter-final since August 2020 with an impressive comeback win over sixth seed Petra Martic.

The American triumphed 5-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes to book a clash with compatriot Shelby Rogers at the WTA 500 event.

Gauff did not relinquish serve once after losing the first set and did not even offer up a break-point chance in the decider, which she sealed with a pivotal early break secured with a passing winner.

"I go into every tournament thinking that I can win," said the 16-year-old.

"Obviously that's impossible, to have a perfect record, but I go into every tournament believing that I can win. 

"I try not to think far ahead in the match, at least I just try to focus on my next match, just because you have to get through that before you can get to the finals, and just take it one match at a time."

Second seed Belinda Bencic will face Storm Sanders in the quarter-finals after a 6-1 6-3 win over Misaki Doi.

In a match where she was not quite as dominant as the scoreline suggests, Bencic had to fend off 12 break points but was successful in saving 10 of them.

Number four seed Elise Mertens withdrew before her match with a shoulder injury, so Anastasija Sevastova beat lucky loser Christina McHale to set up a last-eight tie with Jil Teichmann.

World number one Ash Barty refused to criticise Karolina Muchova's reasoning for a medical timeout after she was surprisingly beaten in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Barty's bid to become the first Australian woman to win the Melbourne grand slam since 1978 came to a shock end on Wednesday, upstaged by 25th seed Muchova 1-6 6-3 6-2.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty raced through the opening set in 24 minutes and led 2-1 in the second before Muchova requested an off-court medical timeout on Rod Laver Arena.

It was a turning point, Muchova returning reinvigorated as the unheralded Czech reached her maiden major semi-final in remarkable fashion, with the 24-year-old revealing during her on-court interview, "I was a bit lost [gestures at head] on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break. It helped me.

"It was more they just checked my pressure because I was a bit lost. I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice and it helped me."

Asked about Muchova's actions, Barty told reporters: "It's within the rules. She's within her rights to take that time. If she wasn't within the rules, the physios and the doctors would have said so. That's the laws of our game, is that we have those medical timeouts for cases that are needed. Obviously she needed that today. Completely within the rules for her to take that.

"From my point of view, I've played a lot of matches where there have been medical timeouts. I've taken medical timeouts myself before, so that shouldn't be a massive turning point in the match. I was disappointed that I let that become a turning point. I'm experienced enough now to be able to deal with that. It's a disappointment today without a doubt. But we learn and we move on."

Barty added: "I would have liked to have just been a little bit sharper the next game. Started well with the first point, just made a couple loose errors in that game. I think for the rest of the set, that was the story, it was just over and over-made. Probably pressed a little bit trying to be overly aggressive.

"Had some break points, I think it was that three-all, that was probably a bit of a critical game in the momentum there for the second set. Just disappointed with the fact that I wasn't able to bring the match back on my terms after she took that break."

"I didn't hear what she said when she called for the trainer," Barty continued. "That's not my decision. When you call for the trainer, you obviously tell the umpire what the reason is. And then the doctor and physios come out and assess it. That's within the rules. For me, that's not really my decision and not my concern what she took the medical for.

"Obviously there are rules when we go off the court for whatever areas you're getting treated because that's quite normal. But, yeah, that's not really my decision to make on whether or what her medical condition was or what the timeout was for."

Brady, who tallied 31 unforced errors in the final two sets having only managed six in the first, said: "It's heartbreaking, of course. But will it deter me, will it ruin the fact we've had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.

"The sun will come up tomorrow. We go about our work again. You're either winning or you're learning. I think today is a massive learning curve for me, for Tyz [coach Craig Tyzzer], my team as well. We take the positives out of it, without doubt and don't let this particular match, this particular hour of tennis deter us from what we're trying to do."

Karolina Muchova completed a stunning comeback to upset world number one Ash Barty 1-6 6-3 6-2 in the Australian Open quarter-finals. 

Leading by a set and 2-0 in the second, Barty looked on track to reach back-to-back semi-finals at Melbourne Park, where she was bidding to become the first Australian woman to advance to the final since 1980 and first to lift the trophy since 1978.

But Czech 25th seed Muchova spoiled the 'Barty party' on Rod Laver Arena as her star opponent – unable to stop the rot – sensationally crashed out on Wednesday.

Muchova, whose only previous win against a top-five player came against Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon two years ago, will contest her maiden major semi-final as either Jennifer Brady or Jessica Pegula await.

Played behind closed doors on the final day of a five-day state-wide lockdown in Victoria, Barty initially showed no mercy in warm and sunny conditions midweek.

Barty, who had lost the second-fewest games (20) en route to the last eight, raced out to a 5-0 lead in just 16 minutes – Muchova managing to avoid a first-set bagel in the only positive in an otherwise forgettable start.

Winner of the 2019 French Open, Barty only dropped three points on first serve, while she won 90 her cent of her second serves – finishing a lopsided first set with six winners and just as many unforced errors.

Progression to the semis appeared to be a foregone conclusion as Barty led and Muchova required a medical timeout away from the court at the end of the third game of the second set.

But Muchova emerged a new player, with Barty fading dramatically after everything she touched had turned to gold in the opening set.

Barty's unforced error count ballooned out to 19 as Muchova enjoyed great success on second serve, winning 12 of 15 points, while the former – who did not face a break point in the first set – only managed four of 15 and served three double faults.

Muchova continued her red-hot form in the deciding set - breaking in the opening game before saving a pair of break points to consolidate and she did not look back as she caused a boilover, which was sealed with an ace.

 

Data Slam: ​Barty loses her way
Unstoppable in a 24-minute first set, Barty crashed back down to earth thereafter. She missed routine shots consistently, with 31 unforced errors in the remaining two sets contributing to her demise.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 21/37
Muchova – 17/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 3/3
Muchova – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 3/13
Muchova – 4/11

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."

Jessica Pegula said she "can't be more confident" after upsetting Elina Svitolina to reach her first grand slam quarter-final and Ash Barty stayed in the hunt for Australian Open glory on Monday.

Pegula, the daughter of NFL and NHL franchise owners of the Buffalo Bills and the Sabres, beat fifth seed Svitolina 6-3 3-6 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena to set up a showdown with her fellow American and friend Jennifer Brady.

Brady made it all the way to the semi-finals of the US Open last year and has now put together her best run at Melbourne Park after seeing off Donna Vekic 6-1 7-5.

World number one Barty has not dropped a set in her home major and started the second week by dispatching Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4.

The top seed from Queensland's next assignment will be a meeting with Karolina Muchova, who saw the back of Elise Mertens 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Muchova, the 25th seed from the Czech Republic, has made it through to her second grand slam quarter-final - having also reached this stage at Wimbledon in 2019 - without losing a set.

 

Pegula to put friendship to one side

Pegula and Brady are close friends, but they will have to put that to one side when they meet in the quarter-finals.

The world number 61 claimed her first victory over an opponent ranked in the top 10 just over a month after Svitolina beat her in straight sets in Abu Dhabi.

Pegula hit 31 winners to Svitolina's 19 and won 21 points from 29 when she made a trip to the net as she broke new ground at a major

She said: "I can't get more confident, it's my best result yet and I'm playing good tennis. Today was a hard-fought win, so, yeah, feeling pretty good."

Pegula added on the prospect of facing Brady: "We're here to have fun and compete. If I can do it against somebody that I like, that I wouldn't mind if they beat me, hopefully not, but if they did, why not?"

Brady benefited from strict lockdown

Many players understandably struggled during and after being in a strict two-week lockdown in a hotel room following their arrival in Australia.

Brady was among the players who were not allowed out of their rooms for a fortnight, but said she used the situation to recharge her batteries before the first major of the year.

The 22nd-seeded Pennsylvanian said: "I think it was a little bit of a benefit for me, just taking a break from tennis. I had been going non-stop since World Team Tennis in June. I didn't take any time off.

"I was playing from June and then played US Open, the U.S. tournaments, and then went straight to Europe, then finished there and was training in Europe, then went home for Christmas and then came and started in Abu Dhabi.

"So obviously I didn't really feel super fresh mentally coming into Abu Dhabi. And then when I was away from tennis for two weeks, I felt like I wanted to play again to compete and I think that helped me."

Much improved Czech

Muchova had not been beyond the second round of the Australian Open before last week but now has a semi-final spot in her sights.

The 24-year-old was 4-0 down in the opening set as Mertens got off to a flyer but warmed to the task with her battling spirit and positive approach.

Muchova converted five of the six break points she earned on Margaret Court Arena, also coming from a mini-break down in a first-set tie-break.

She struck 25 winners to Mertens' 15 and advanced despite making 31 unforced errors, getting her rewards for throwing caution to the wind.

World number one Ash Barty secured another quarter-final berth at the Australian Open after outclassing Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4.

It was a Barty party on Rod Laver Arena, where the 2019 French Open champion dominated from the outset to see off unseeded American Rogers in a little over an hour on Monday.

Barty, who appeared in the semi-finals in Melbourne last year to become the first Australian woman to reach that stage since Wendy Turnbull in 1984, raced past Rogers to set up a meeting with Karolina Muchova.

Home hope Barty and Rogers renewed acquaintances behind closed doors in the last 16 after the former won a match tie-break against last year's US Open quarter-finalist en route to claiming the Yarra Valley Classic.

Barty was unstoppable from the start, striking first in the fourth game and breaking for a 3-1 lead after precision play left Rogers helplessly scrambling around the court.

There was a test for Barty after Rogers earned a pair of break points in the seventh game, but the former saved both.

It was the only real challenge in a first set controlled by Barty, who continued where she left off in the second.

While Rogers showed glimpses, Barty – moving freely with all eyes on her heavily strapped thigh – was firmly in the groove as she broke for a 2-1 lead.

Another break followed but there was a blip for Barty, who was broken for the first time when serving for the match at 5-2 in a late Rogers resistance which only delayed the inevitable.

 

Data Slam: ​Three in a row for Barty
Barty will contest her third consecutive Australian Open quarter-final. Not since Wendy Turnbull in 1984 has an Australian woman enjoyed such a run. Barty is bidding to become the first Australian woman to win the grand slam since 1978.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 21/16
Rogers – 14/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 5/3
Rogers – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 3/6
Rogers – 1/3

Ash Barty may have her focus on winning the Australian Open right now but suggested a career change could be on the cards in the future.  

The world number one made sure she will still be competing during the second week of the tournament in Melbourne by beating Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets.  

But, having played international cricket for Australia before switching to tennis, could the multi-talented Barty be considering trying another sport?  

Elsewhere in Saturday's action, Karolina Pliskova lost her cool – and also a couple of rackets – as she slipped to defeat against the impressive Karolina Muchova in an empty Rod Laver Arena, with fans not able to be present due to a five-day lockdown in the state of Victoria.

Elina Svitolina had no such problems in her third-round match, while Elise Mertens was victorious in just over an hour against Belinda Bencic. Jennifer Brady ended Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan's run in the first grand slam of the year.


AUSSIE RULES, OK? 

After winning 6-2 6-4 without ever needing to be at her peak, Barty was cheekily asked by former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua – now working in the media – whether she may be set to switch paths again, once her tennis career has come to an end.  

Australian rules football was the answer – but Dellacqua maybe got more than she bargained for from her former playing partner during the on-court interview. 

"I thought it was our deal, we're going to AFLW. It's ABCD [the nickname for the pairing from their doubles career]. We come as a package, and I know we will be going to the [Richmond] Tigers that is for sure," Barty said. "You can't go to Carlton. You have to come to the 'Tiges' with me."

Dellacqua replied: "I need to get out there and start practicing some kicking, but you are good. I would love to do that one day." 

For Barty, though, the next challenge facing her is Shelby Rogers, who knocked out 21st seed Anett Kontaveit during the evening session.  


MAKING A RACKET 

A disgruntled Pliskova was not impressed when punished for smashing up a racket during her match with compatriot Muchova. 

Having received a warning when throwing a racket to the floor during the course of the final game in the opening set, the sixth seed then vented her frustration again on another while in the players' tunnel.  

An official witnessed the incident and reported it to chair umpire Alison Hughes, who punished the Czech with a point penalty before she began serving to open the second set.  

"It's off court, I'm allowed to do what I want," Pliskova insisted when querying the decision to the official. She would go on to hold before recording two successive breaks, yet somehow failed to force a decider.  

Muchova rallied from 5-0 down in sensational fashion, winning seven games on the spin to triumph 7-5 7-5 to make it through to the last 16.


CONTRASTING PROGRESS FOR SEEDS

Svitolina has still yet to drop a set in the tournament after overcoming 26th seed Yulia Putintseva by a 6-4 6-0 scoreline.  

The fifth seed was twice down a break in the first set but, after eventually coming out on top to take a 1-0 lead, breezed through the second in a hurry.  

"She has a very different game style from what I played my last two rounds, so it wasn't easy at the beginning to adjust," Svitolina said. "As soon as I was feeling better, I just stepped my game, and it was quite a comfortable win after." 

Next up will be Jessica Pegula, who is through to the fourth round at a slam for the first time in her career after thrashing Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-1.  

There was also success for another American in the main draw, Brady defeating Juvan in straight sets. Her reward is a clash with Donna Vekic, the 28th seed having to save a match point before eventually seeing off Kaia Kanepi 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 after two hours and 38 minutes on court. 

Ash Barty battled back to win both sets against Ekaterina Alexandrova and book a place in the fourth round of the Australian Open. 

The world number one triumphed 6-2 6-4 after one hour and 21 minutes on court, though there was no crowd present to cheer on the home favourite due to the five-day lockdown in place in Victoria. 

Barty admitted that, with fans having been allowed into Melbourne Park earlier in the tournament, there was a different – if not completely unpleasant – atmosphere to proceedings in the evening session on Margaret Court Arena.

"It's very strange, it changes the sound of the court a little bit," the Australian – who played with her left thigh heavily strapped having pulled out of doubles duty on Friday – said during her on-court interview.

"I love the crowd, but I love the sound the ball makes. It feels a bit like practice."

Barty lost her opening service game as she quickly fell 2-0 behind at the start of the contest, though she hit back impressively to take the opener against the 29th seed.

The 2019 French Open champion claimed six successive games, hitting just five winners as the policy of keeping the ball in play paid off thanks to 16 unforced errors from her opponent. 

Alexandrova was more consistent in the second set, leading to a break of serve that she quickly consolidated to make the score 4-2. 

However, the Russian was unable to cling on to her advantage and, when serving to stay in the match, let slip two opportunities to extend proceedings. Barty will next face Shelby Rogers, who knocked out 21st seed Anett Kontaveit in straight sets.

Ash Barty and partner Jennifer Brady withdrew from their doubles clash at the Australian Open amid fitness concerns over the world number one.

Barty is in the spotlight after her thigh was heavily strapped during Thursday's 6-1 7-6 (9-7) victory over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova in the women's singles.

Australian star and 2019 French Open champion Barty was scheduled to team up with Brady for Friday's doubles contest against Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, but the duo pulled out in Melbourne.

Barty did play down the severity of the thigh issue after defeating Gavrilova, with 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova awaiting in the third round at Melbourne Park.

"The bandage is very big, but that's more just support so that the tape itself doesn't fall off. It's not a very subtle tape job, you often see it on a lot of the girls," Barty told a news conference on Thursday.

"The guys can hide it beneath their shorts a little bit better. Just a little bit of support. I played a lot of matches in the last 10 days after not playing for 12 months, which is natural.  It's more of an assistance than anything else."

Barty added: "It came on early Tuesday, warming up for the match. But, yeah, obviously it's not affecting the way that I can play in any way.

"It's just more giving the leg some assistance to make sure it doesn't get to a point where it's going to affect me."

Last year, Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

The most recent finalist from the home nation was Turnbull in 1980, while Chris O'Neil was the last champion in 1978.

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