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Australian Open 2020: Barty battles on as Kenin ends Coco fairytale

By Sacha Pisani At Melbourne Park
ashleigh barty - cropped

Melbourne, January 26: Ashleigh Barty avenged her fourth-round defeat at Wimbledon to Alison Riske by overcoming the American in three sets in the Australian Open fourth round.

The world number one battled to victory in an hour and 36 minutes to book a quarter-final meeting with Petra Kvitova, who came from a set down to beat Maria Sakkari.

Coco Gauff saw her brilliant week end in disappointment as she lost to compatriot Sofia Kenin, who is into the last eight of a grand slam singles tournament for the first time.

Qiang Wang, who stunned Serena Williams in round three, was defeated in straight sets by Ons Jabeur – another woman making major history in Melbourne.

NO REWARD FOR RISKE AS BARTY BATTLES ON

Australia's hope for a home champion continues after Barty recovered from a miserable second set to defeat Riske for the first time.

Riske won their first encounter in Eastbourne in 2016 before taking victory at Wimbledon last year, but Barty ended that losing streak with a 6-3 1-6 6-4 success.

Barty was clinical in the opening set against too many errors from Riske, but the 29-year-old rallied in the second, breaking twice and dropping just five points on her own serve to force the decider.

At 5-4, Barty set up match point with a backhand pass and Riske produced just her second double fault to hand victory to the favourite.

"It was third time's a charm for me tonight," said Barty. "I just had to hang in there. It was very tough from both ends playing very differently. I just had to give myself a chance."

Barty will face Kvitova next in a repeat of last year's quarter-final, the Czech having fought from a set down to defeat Sakkari.

"I love Petra, but let's hope she doesn't break my heart again on Tuesday!" said Barty, who was beaten 6-1 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena in 2019.

COCO MANIA DEPARTS MELBOURNE​, JABEUR MAKES HISTORY

Gauff's fairytale run came to an end at the hands of countrywoman Kenin, who steamrolled the 15-year-old 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-0 on Melbourne Arena.

American sensation Gauff dethroned defending champion Naomi Osaka in the previous round and she looked on track to reach the quarters in Melbourne.

However, fellow rising star and 14th seed Kenin blitzed Gauff to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

Next up for Kenin is Jabeur after the Tunisian beat Chinese star Qiang Wang 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.

Wang eliminated 23-time slam singles champion Williams in the third round, however, she was unable to back it up on Sunday.

Jabeur, who hit 29 winners, became the first Arab woman to ever make a slam quarter-final.

KVITOVA RETURNS TO QUARTERS

Australian Open runner-up Kvitova avoided a major upset as she rallied past Sakkari 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

After losing a tight first set, two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova hit 33 winners and broke Sakkari eight times en route to a fourth quarter-final in Melbourne.

Playing in front of a vocal Green contingent supporting Sakkari, Kvitova said: "When I was shaking the hand with the umpire, I told him it was like a soccer match today. I mean, it's nice on one side. On the other side, it's the tennis, and it's not a Fed Cup. It's strange. But it didn't bother me at all."

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Story first published: Sunday, January 26, 2020, 17:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 26, 2020
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