Ash Barty secured her place in the quarter finals of the Australian Open with a comfortable straight sets fourth-round victory over Shelby Rogers.
Barty is aiming to become the first Australian singles winner at the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil in 1978 and is still on track to achieve those ambitions having not dropped a set at this year’s tournament.
The home hope started strongly and clinched the first break of the match in the fourth game of the first set, putting away a forehand winner at the net to take control.
Rogers couldn’t come up with the answers to break back as Barty took the first set and the world number one moved further ahead with a break in the third game of the second set, showing great defensive skills.
Another break of the Rogers serve soon followed as Barty underlined her title credentials with an impressive performance, despite a late wobble when serving it out, moving into the quarter finals of the Australian Open for the third year in a row where Karolina Muchova awaits.
TALKING POINT - Ash Barty’s serve and slice combination could deliver the title
Barty has yet to drop a single set at this year’s Australian Open and this was another demonstration of the world number one’s brilliance. In particular, the 24-year-old looks to be serving as well as she ever has. Of course, Barty’s slice is her trademark shot and that too appears to be in top shape. Those two areas of her game could be enough to deliver an Australian Open title to the home hope.
Highlights: Barty too good for Rogers as home favourite moves on
*BARTY 3-1 ROGERS - The first break goes the way of Barty! Rogers saved one break point at 15-40, but she couldn't save a second one as the Australian put away a forehand winner at the net! The number one seed hits the front.
BARTY 6-3 ROGERS - Barty has one foot in the Australian Open quarter finals. That was a very strong first set from the number one seed. Rogers has to come up with some answers and quickly! Barty in control.
*BARTY 2-1 ROGERS (6-3) - It's now a set and a break for the world number one! Barty's defence was just fantastic in that game. Rogers went for a bit too much to try and hit through her opponent and Barty breaks through!
*BARTY 4-1 ROGERS (6-3) - That could be the match in the bag for Barty. The world number one is accelerating away from Rogers as she secures a double break in this second set. Two games away from the quarter finals.
BARTY 5-3 ROGERS* (6-3) - Well, that wasn't in the script! Barty brought up two match points, looked to be set to secure her place in the quarters, and then completely loses her flow and produces three errors! Rogers breaks! A lifeline!
BARTY 6-3, 6-3 ROGERS - The world number one is through to the quarter finals of the Australian Open for the third straight year and she still hasn't dropped a set this year! Barty was in control for the majority of the contest. Rogers tried to mix things up at times, but she just didn't have enough in her arsenal.
'We just have fun' - Barty reflects on winning and 'being at home'
SHOT OF THE MATCH
The best shot of the match was actually produced by Rogers near the start of the first set despite Barty’s general dominance of the contest, with the American lobbing the world number one at the net with a wonderfully disguised backhand.
It left Barty stranded and hinted at a close match between two players playing something close to their best tennis. That, of course, didn’t materialise.
'Clever' - Rogers with sublime lob to outfox Barty
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