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Krejcikova sets up quarterfinal clash with Sabalenka

  • Gill Tan

Barbora Krejcikova is back in the last eight of the Australian Open after securing a comeback win over teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva on Sunday.

MORE: All the scores from Day 8 at AO 2024

The Czech ninth seed, who’s the third highest-ranked player left in the women’s singles draw, posted a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory to earn her first victory over the 16-year-old in three attempts. It’s the 28-year-old’s first Grand Slam quarterfinal since AO 2022.

“I'm really happy that I'm in a quarterfinal, because I had really difficult matches,” said Krejcikova, who has dropped the opening set in three of her four matches at Melbourne Park this fortnight against unseeded opponents.

MORE: AO 2024 women's singles draw

“I was playing solid tennis,” added the former world No.2, who made a concerted effort to be more aggressive than in her previous matches. That involved applying pressure at the net, which Krejcikova approached during one in every four points, with decent success.

Krejcikova struck 32 winners to her world No.47 opponent’s 19 during the two-hour match, which was contested in relatively cool conditions at John Cain Arena.

The Roland Garros 2021 champion has been an inspiration for her countrywoman Linda Noskova, the 19-year-old who toppled top seed Iga Swiatek on Saturday. Noskova won the Roland Garros junior girls’ title in 2021, the same year that Krejcikova swept the women’s singles and doubles.

Krejcikova has had to rally from behind to win three of her four matches this week

“I think she served it out really, really well,” Krejcikova said of Noskova’s brilliant performance against the Polish world No.1 to reach her maiden round of 16 at a major.

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“I[‘ve] know[n] Linda since she was 11, we kind of play[ed] in the Czech Tennis Extraliga together in the same team … she was getting her first experience, she was very young, also tiny and small.

“I'm really proud of her that she is this young and she has such achievements already.”

Krejcikova’s foe in the final eight is defending Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who blasted past Amanda Anisimova 6-3 6-2 earlier on Sunday.

“It’s going to be difficult,” said Krejcikova, who has lost four of her five previous encounters with Sabalenka.

“She likes it here, she's been playing here really well, I mean, [for] the last year. On the other hand, I feel I'm improving with every single match."

Krejcikova has had to work hard to get to the final eight, spending eight hours and 24 minutes on court so far this tournament, more than double the four hours and two minutes Sabalenka has needed to seal her quartet of straight-sets wins, during which she dropped just 11 games.

“I'm looking forward for this match-up … I[‘ll] just go on and I[‘ll] just fight for every single ball," Krejcikova said.

Although much of Sabalenka’s singles success followed a decision to quit doubles in 2021, Krejcikova – a winner of seven Grand Slam doubles titles and Olympic gold – said she’s unlikely to ever follow suit.

“I think that I got to the top of tennis because I was playing doubles – I feel that it's just part of my game, it's just part of me," she said.

Before the ninth seed tackles Sabalenka on Tuesday, she’ll be back in action on Monday in the women’s doubles third round on 1573 Arena.