Krejcikova Ousts Azarenka, Barty Battles Past Anisimova At Australian Open; Halep, Swiatek Today

by Staff | January 23rd, 2022, 11:37 am
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Ash Barty’s service streak was finally snapped Sunday night in Melbourne at the Australian Open. The World No. 1 had won her last 63 service games until getting broken to go down 2-0 in the second set to Amanda Anismova.

Barty, though, quickly got back on track breaking the American in her very next service game at 30, then pulling away for a 6-4, 6-3 victory to reach her fourth straight Australian Open quarterfinal.

“She’s got an exceptional game that puts you under the pump right from the get go,” Barty said on court.

“It was nice to be able to hold firm tonight and bring the points back into my patterns more regularly and big ones when it mattered most.

“She’s an incredible athlete and competitor. One of her best attributes is that she’s able to turn up point after point after point.

“It’s just nice to see her back playing her best tennis. She’s a champion and she’s going to be in deep stages at a lot of majors,” Barty added of Anisimova, who was understandably devastated when her father died in 2019.”

Anisimova had won her eight matches including an upset stunner over Naomi Osaka in the last round.

Barty is now just six sets from becoming the first Australian woman to win her home Slam since Chris O’Neil in 1978. She’ll now face Jessica Pegula after the American reached her second straight Australian Open quarterfinal knocking out Maria Sakkari 7-6(0), 6-3.

“She’s able to hold the baseline really well,” said Barty of Pegula. Her swings are quite linear and she gets a racquet behind the ball and swings through the path. The ball comes at you at a different trajectory, and her ability to absorb pace and then add to it when she wants to is exceptional. It’s going to be a challenge for me to try and push her off that baseline and make her uncomfortable and feel like she has to create.”

Pegula was up a break twice in the first set, but thanks to a perfect breaker, got control and never let go of the Greek No. 1.

“It was a little hot out there today, so I didn’t really want to kind of play a lot of long points,” Pegula said. “I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chances to. Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match.”

Madison Keys kept her momentum going. The former semifinalist trounced an in-form Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1. Playing some of her best tennis in years, the powerful Keys connected on 26 winners and lost just eight points on first serve while the Spaniard was plagued by 10 double faults.

“It was absolutely amazing. I’m so happy to be back. I was so sad to miss last year,” said Keys who could play the event last year due to getting COVID. “I think I served pretty well and I think I returned really well so I think I just kind of, off of the first ball, had the advantage on a lot of the points and then was able to dictate.

“I knew that I was going to have to take my chances and go for it because if I gave her an inch she was going to take it.”

Keys will meet reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova who cruised past an ailing Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2. Azarenka, a 2-time Australian Open champion, was suffering from some neck issues along with the strong play from the Czech.

“I really respect Vika,” Krejcikova said. “I think Rod Laver Arena is like her living room. She really likes it there. She’s really experienced on that court. For me it means a lot, it’s really special.

“I think I was doing really well today. I think I was just handling Vika’s play really well. I think I was overplaying her at some important moments. I think I just did a really good job. I’m really happy with the win today and with the score line”

Tonight, Grand Slam champions Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek return along with Aryna Sabalenka and that shaky serve. There will be a new women’s champion crowed in less than a week, who will it be?

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