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Barty bounces back to make last eight

Ash Barty gained revenge and returned to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a tricky 6-3 1-6 6-4 passage past No.18 seed Alison Riske on Sunday night. 

The American defeated the world No.1 at this stage of Wimbledon back in July, and a repeat looked on the cards after Riske raced through the second set.  

However, Barty rediscovered her unplayable variety in the decider to earn a rematch with 2019 finalist Petra Kvitova in the final eight.

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26 Jan 20
Ashleigh Barty vs. Alison Riske - Match Highlights (R4) | Australian Open 2020

Barty’s Riske management

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“It was third time a charm for me tonight,” said an elated Barty, having lost both previous times to Riske.  

MORE: All the results from Day 7 in Melbourne

“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.

“Tonight, it was important to get off to a good start. I was a little bit loose, pressed too much. Very proud of the way we were able to bring it back in the third, go back to the patterns I wanted to play.”

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Barty earned her first victory over Riske in three meetings

Kvitova dismissed Barty 6-1 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena 12 months ago, but since then the Australian has prevailed past the Czech in three consecutive matches. 

As a result, the top seed feels far better equipped to book a semifinal spot on home soil.

“I love Petra, but let’s hope she doesn’t break my heart again on Tuesday. It’s been an incredible year for me the past 12 months,” declared the reigning Roland Garros champion. 

“It’s been amazing. I’m just really excited to get another opportunity in a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, you don’t get those every week, so I’m really excited.

“(I’ve got) more experience. I've played Petra a few more times. Tactically the last few times we've played Petra, we've had a small, small adjustment, small change. It's never an easy match. I think maybe all but one have gone to three sets.

“I think I'm looking forward to another battle against a quality opponent.”

‘I’m just really excited to get another opportunity in a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, you don’t get those every week’
Ash Barty

At the start Barty, recently crowned Young Australian of the Year, was dealing with the challenging whirlpool winds inside Rod Laver Arena with ease. 

Chopping a backhand slice and dinking a delicate drop shot highlighted a confident 3-0 start from the Queenslander. 

Riske rallied, and a stunning backhand stop volley received a nod of approval from Barty as the world No.19 erased the break. 

The backhand slice was still a menace for the American to deal with, and Barty wrestled back the initiative with a bullet forehand down the line. A couple of comfortable holds later, the world No.1 headed for a changeover a set up. 

Riske had overturned a set deficit at Wimbledon, and ignited a similar comeback on Sunday night. 

The 29-year-old pressured Barty into a loose volley at the net to chalk up the break, and within 10 minutes launched 3-0 ahead. Riske’s resilience was constricting Barty’s versatility, and in a flash a decider was on order. 

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Barty will meet Kvitova in the final eight for a second successive year in Melbourne

The top seed wiped the slate clear, cutting down the unforced errors. A cracking forehand cross-court winner skimmed the inside tramline, and a couple of aces enabled Barty to post two straightforward holds. 

Pinging the ball from corner to corner, Barty eventually wore down Riske’s resistance for a brace of break points. The world No.1 snuck to the net and struck a textbook volley for the pivotal 3-1 advantage.   

Riske, seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time, was undeterred and attacked on return to nudge Barty’s striking zone off balance. It worked, and the Melbourne crowd became concerned when the American tied the scoreline four apiece. 

Another arrowed forehand pass sparked the telling break, with a Riske double fault sending Barty into the final eight on Australia Day. 

Brilliant Barty delights a nation

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Barty’s Riske management

Video