Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty to face Karolina Muchova in QF

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Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty to face Karolina Muchova in QF

Ashleigh Barty secured a 6-3, 6-4 win over Shelby Rogers in their fourth-round match at the Australian Open on Monday. The world no. 1 was untroubled for most parts of the match and while she was broken the first time, she tried to serve for it in the eighth game of the second set, she didn’t miss the second time around.

When the match began, it looked as though the occasion had overwhelmed the American who struggled to get her rhythm and timing right. The opening set featured just the one break of serve in the fourth game and while Rogers, too, had a couple of break-back points in the set, her errors coupled with the Australian’s deft shot-selection shut these doors firmly.

The second set was way more one-sided. Barty went up a double break and led 5-1. However, when serving for the match at 5-2, the top-seed came under pressure and handed one of the two breaks back to her opponent. Rogers did consolidate the break back to narrow the deficit in the score-line.

The road, however, ended at that point for her as Barty quickly brought up triple match points in the 10th game and secured the win without wasting any of them. Barty hit 21 winners, seven more than Rogers’ 14 and had 16 unforced errors to Rogers’ 25.

Australian Open: Karolina Muchova sets Ashleigh Barty showdown

In the other fourth-round match, Karolina Muchova defeated 18th seed, Elise Mertens, 7-6(5), 7-5 in an hour and 56 minutes. The Belgian was all over Muchova in the first four games of the opening set and quickly went up a double break to lead 4-0.

Muchova began to chalk her comeback in the set by winning her next two service games. The process of her comeback sped by quickly beginning in the eighth game as Mertens was broken while serving for the set. The world no. 27 won the next four games in a row and put herself in the lead for the first time in the match.

Mertens won her first service game to take the set into the tie-break. In the tie-break, Muchova imposed her game on Mertens, whose error-prone shot-making saw her concede the set. The 24-year-old carried the momentum of winning the opening set into the second set and went up 2-0 following a break in the opening service game of the set.

However, Mertens reined the set in with a break back and the game remained on serve with neither player giving in. The break – literally, so – came for Muchova in the 11th game. Serving for the match in the following game, she got the win on the first of her three match points.

Muchova had 25 winners to Mertens’ 15 while both players had similar numbers in terms of unforced errors – Muchova’s 31 to Mertens’ 30. Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Muchova will face each other for a spot in the Australian Open semi-finals.