Barty Closing In On Australian Open Title, Svitolina Sent Off; Serena v Halep Headline QFs
by Staff | February 15th, 2021, 10:25 am
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Ash Barty is now just three wins from becoming the first Australian woman to take her home Slam in 43 years as she entered the quarterfinals after eliminating American Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4.

Barty has made three straight Australian quarterfinals. The World No. 1 now meets Karolina Muchova. The Czech overcame a 4-0 opening set deficit to beat former Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens 7-6(5), 7-5 to reach her second Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The 24-year-old lost to Barty in their only meeting at the 2018 US Open.

In the afternoon, Americans and good friends Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula advanced to their first Australian Open quarterfinals for a first time where they will meet on Wednesday.

Brady, who reached the US Open semifinals, hung on to beat Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5.

“It was a really tough match,” said Brady. “I really had to stay focused in the second set. I was getting a little ahead of myself, but I was able to break and then serve probably my best game there at the end.

“I think in the first set, I came out really strong, wasn’t really making many errors. She was giving me a few free points here and there, and I was taking advantage of that. In the second set, she stepped up and started playing better. When she took the medical, I went out, hit some serves, and I was actually starting to feel my serve a lot better.”

Pegula made the most of her first Grand Slam fourth round against Elina Svitolina. The 26-year-old proved to be just too powerful and too resilient, scoring her first Top 10 win with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win.

“I thought I served really well pretty much the whole time,” said Pegula who upset 2-time champ Victoria Azarenka in the first round. “I think that I kind of got a little tentative in the second set. I played a good game to break her, then I didn’t hold serve. That was huge.

“I’m just happy that I reset at the start of the third. I think that’s huge. Obviously you know you’re going to go three sets eventually. I think the way I kind of switched the momentum and turned it around was really, really important.

“I can’t get more confident, it is my best result yet and I’m playing good tennis and today was a hard fought win, so, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good.”

Svitolina just couldn’t handle the pace and wasn’t on her game.

“It was not a good day for me today. I was making way too many errors. Yeah, tough to pick why was like this. A mixture of things,” Svitolina said.

“I think she also played quite good today. It was very tough for me to find the rhythm because she was playing good in the first set, not very well in the second. Then she came back.

“I didn’t feel very good today on the court. I don’t know. It’s disappointing because I’ve been playing very good. I feel it was that kind of day where nothing was going my way.”

Brady will be out for revenge for a loss to Pegula last summer at the Western.

“She’s playing great tennis. We have played before,” Brady said. “I think we both know each other so well and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be a lot of fun. I think everyone back home in America will be watching, definitely, and there’s guaranteed American in the semifinal.”

On Tuesday, quarterfinal play begins with Naomi Osaka putting up her 18-match win streak against Su-Wei Hsieh who is appearing in her first Slam final eight.

And in the evening, it’s a massive showdown between Serena Williams and Simona Halep. Serena leads 9-2 but Halep beat the American in their last Slam meeting at Wimbledon two years ago.

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