Monday, September 25, 2023

Ash Barty’s road to Grand Slam victory

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Ash Barty hopes to win Grand Slam at home are increasingly brilliant as she focuses on her fourth-round clash at Rod Laver Arena.

World No. 1 carries the weight of history through his seventh open from Australia campaign, with the Queenslander a hot favorite for this year becoming the first Australian woman to win the Melbourne Grand Slam in singles since Chris O’Neil 43 years ago.

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Barty’s Australian Open draw presented as favorable ahead of tournament and the 24-year-old’s title chances are now even greater because, on her side of the draw, the fourth, sixth, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 20th seeds have all collapsed.

That means Barty won’t face an opponent who has played in a Grand Slam final, let alone won one, until the final, with big guns Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep occupying the other half of the draw. comes out.

Barty chooses a ‘scary’ backhand slice

Defending Australian Open champion and fourth seed Sofia Kenin was knocked out in the second round, while two-time Australian Open winner and world No.13 Victoria Azarenka didn’t even go. as far.

Third round victory for Barty over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova pitted her against American Shelby Rogers, ranked 57th in the world. It should be noted, however, that Rogers doesn’t necessarily come across as an easy-beat, as the 28-year-old has conquered superstars Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova since turning pro in 2009.

If Barty defeats Rogers, she will face either 18th seed Elise Merterns or 25th seed Karolina Muchova. Barty won her only clash with Merterns to date in consecutive sets, while Muchova only reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam (Wimbledon in 2019).

If Barty qualifies for the semi-finals, that will be when the road to glory becomes more difficult. However, punters would still be in a very good position to support the former cricketer.

The semi-finals could face her against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, ranked fifth in the world and yet to lose a set at this year’s Australian Open.

And Barty’s other potential semi-final matches are world No.61 Jessica Pegula, 28th seed Donna Vekic and 22nd seed Jennifer Brady.

Perhaps Barty’s biggest challenge in his quest for victory at the Australian Open will be his left thigh, which has been heavily tied up since his doubles match with Brady on Wednesday.

Barty has since retired from the doubles tournament and was hampered in her second round victory over Australian Daria Gavrilova.

In a positive sign, however, she looked much better in her third round triumph over Alexandrova.

“We had to give him time to rest and recover,” Barty said of his thigh tied during Nine’s post-game coverage.

“I felt like it didn’t affect me at all today.

“I’ll be ready to go no matter what.”

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