26 January 2020

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty gives home crowd something to cheer about on Australia day beating Alison Riske in three sets to reach Open quarter final

Australia's Ashleigh Barty came through a tough three-set match against Alison Riske to book her place against Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Barty overcame the No 18 seed 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to reverse the result of their clash at the same stage of Wimbledon last year and celebrate Australia Day in style.

The pair have met on two previous occasions with the American coming out on top in both, but world No 1 Barty held her nerve in Merlbourne to create a change in fortunes and reach the last 16 for the second year running.

The 23 year-old came out all guns blazing and soon found herself 3-0 up, taking advantage of errors across the American's game before the 29-year-old appeared to wake up and earn a break back to bring the score to 4-2. 

Unperturbed, Barty held her cool and maintained a strong 61% first serve percentage and closed out the first set at the first chance.

Riske was not to be disheartened as she stormed out of the block in the second set taking advantage of a dip in the top seed's level to win the set 6-1 and take the match into a decider.

The home favourite shook off the cobwebs and soon broke the American to take a 3-1 lead. Errors began to creep back in to Barty's game and the pair were soon level-pegging at 4-4 before a brace of inside-out forehands and backhand winners took the Adelaide champion to 5-4.

Riske, usually so cool under pressure, lost her nerve in the final game, serving a double fault at 30-40 to gift the Aussie the match.

Barty is fast becoming a national treasure having recently been named Australian Young Athlete of the Year and managed a wry smile as she looked ahead to a tough contest against Kvitova.

"I love Petra, but let's hope she doesn't break my heart on Tuesday."

Kvitova is through after she toughed out a three set match against Greece's Maria Sakkari.

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