Ash Barty Eases Into Australian Open Quarters, Faces Muchova Next - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Eases Into Australian Open Quarters, Faces Muchova Next

The world No.1 reacts to her latest win at Melbourne Park where she is yet to drop a set this year.

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In only her second tournament of the past 11 months Ash Barty swept aside a lacklustre Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4, to book a place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

 

The nighttime showdown was a case of deja vu for both players who also locked horns in a lead-up tournament last month. On that occasion Barty was taken to a third set tiebreaker before she triumphed. However, this time around it was more straightforward for the home favourite who took advantage of blips in the Rogers game during both sets. Overall, she produced 21 winners to 16 unforced errors as she broke the American three times.

“I knew my serve was going to be massive. Not giving Shelby too many looks on my second serve,” Barty commented on the tactics she used afterwards. “She’s a player who can take the match away from you very quickly so I needed to have my running shoes on, serve well and try to be in control of as many points as I could.”

Seeking a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals for a third year in a row, the top seed looked to be the sharper of the two players early on in their match. Barty first drew blood four games into the match after a 18-shot rally ended with a winning forehand which saw her break for a 3-1 lead. Rogers had a chance to retrieve the break later on in the set but was unable to capitalise on her opportunities. Enabling the former French Open champion to seal a 6-3 lead with relative ease.

Continuing her momentum Barty struck again three games into the second frame with the help of some cheap gifts coming from across the court. An erratic Rogers forehand error handed the world No.1 another break as she closed in on the finish line. Cruising towards victory the only time Barty faltered was when she was serving for the win after a series of tentative shots resulted in her dropping serve for the first time whilst leading 6-2, 5-2. Despite the blip she held her nerve to close out the match after 71 minutes with the help of a Rogers backhand error.

“It’s really exciting to be through to another quarter-final. I think if you told me a few months ago during pre-season that this is the start to the year that we (my team) would have, we would absolutely take it with a massive smile on our face,” said Barty.
“I’ve grown up on these plexi-cushion courts and have played on them for many years now. I love being at home in Australia and being able to share it with my friends and family,” she added.

Awaiting Barty in the last eight is Czech underdog Karolína Muchová who had never won back-to-back matches in the tournament until this year. Although she did reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 Wimbledon championships. The world No.27 battled back from a 2-5 deficit in the opening set to defeat Elise Mertens 7-6(5), 7-5.

“I just finished this one (match) so I’m really not thinking about it,” Muchova replied when asked about playing Barty next. “I will try my best to recover. She’s an amazing player and I look forward to playing her.”

Barty is now on a nine-match winning streak.

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Aljaz Bedene rallies from one set down to beat Jannik Sinner in Montpellier

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Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene came back from one set down to beat 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to reach the second round at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Sinner was hindered by a back injury in the final stages of the match. 

 

Bedene entered the match with a 2-1 lead in his head-to-head matches against Sinner, but the Italian 19-year-old player won their most recent clash at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne en route to the second title of his career.  

Sinner earned his only break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 and held his next service games to close out the opening set 6-3 with a forehand down the line. 

Sinner went down 0-40 in the fourth game of the second set on serve, but he saved three consecutive break points. Bedene converted his fourth break point at deuce, as Sinner made an error at the net. Sinner forced the next game to deuce, but Bedene held his serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Bedene closed out the second set 6-2 with his double break at 15.

Sinner saved a break point and held serve after two deuces in the second game. The Italian player wasted two break points in the third and fifth games. 

Sinner earned an erly mini-break, but Bedene got back on serve immediately. Bedene opened up a 4-2 lead with two more mini-breaks in the tie-break before Sinner received a medical time-out to a lower back injury. Bedene earned two more mini-breaks to close out the match after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

Bedene becomes the first player outside the top 10 to defeat Sinner indoors in a year. Sinner entered the match on a 10-match indoor winning streak against players outside the top 10, which dated back to the quarter final defeat against Pablo Carreno Busta in Rotterdam. 

“In the first set Sinner was the better player. Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it. On the important points I was there. I didn’t lose my focus”, said Bedene. 

Bedene set up a second round match against Egor Gerasimov, who beat Andy Murray 7-6 (10-8) 6-1on Tuesday evening. 

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina converted six of his fifteen break points to overcome Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-2 setting up a second round match against Hubert Hurkacz. 

French qualifier Gregoire Barrere broke twice in each set and won 65 % of his second service points to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-4. 

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Marin Cilic beats Taro Daniel to reach the quarter final at the Singapore Open

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Former US Open champion and world number 3 Marin Cilic won 82% of his first-serve points and and fended off three of the four break points he faced to claim a 7-5 6-4 win over Taro Daniel after 1 hour and 40 minutes at the Singapore Tennis Open. 

 

Cilic converted his second break point at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Daniel broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Cilic earned his second break in the 11th game and served out the first set at love in the 10th game. Cilic earned the only break in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4. 

Cilic set up a quarter final match against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who came back from one set down to beat Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 4-6 6-3 6-4. 

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik fired 10 aces to beat Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek 6-3 6-2. Bublik will take on Yoshihito Nishioka, who won 62 % of hsi second serve points to claim a 6-4 6-2 win over Maxime Cressy. 

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin overcame Adrian Andreev 6-1 5-7 6-3. Popyrin earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Andreev sealed the second set 7-5 with his only break in the 12th game. Poppyrin broke twice in the fifth and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3.  

Italy’s Roberto Marcora broke once in each set to upset former top 10 player Ernest Gulbis 7-5 6-4 setting up a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Matthew Ebden edged Yuki Bhambri 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to secure his spot in the second round where he will face second round match against second seed John Millman.

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Lorenzo Sonego beats Sebastian Korda to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Lorenzo Sonego cruised past US Next Gen player Sebastian Korda 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the quarter final for the eighth time in his career on the ATP Tour. Sonego will face either David Goffin or Benjamin Bonzi. 

 

Sonego did not convert a break point at 2-1 in the opening set. Korda earned two break points in the fifth game, but Sonego saved them at deuce. The Italian player broke serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead and held his next service games to claim the first set 6-3.

The second set went on serve the first four games before Sonego earned a break with a forehand passing shot to take a 3-2 lead. The 2020 Vienna finalist came back from 0-30 down to hold his serve before breaking for the second time in the seventh game at 15 to race out a 5-2 lead. Sonego served out the win on his first match point in the eighth game to reach his first ATP Tour quarter finals this year.

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