Ash Barty is looking to become the first homegrown Australian Open singles champion since 1978 and will face American Shelby Rogers for a place in the quarter-finals.

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ash Barty eased past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4 at the Margaret Court Arena
  • Barty has been struggling with a thigh strain due to which she withdrew from her women’s doubles match
  • Elise Mertens continued her winning start to 2021 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 11th-seeded Belinda Bencic

Top-seeded local star Ash Barty made light work of her third-round opponent at the Australian Open 2021 to move into the women’s singles round of 16 at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Barty eased past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4 at the Margaret Court Arena. Barty has been struggling with a thigh strain due to which she withdrew from her women’s doubles match on Friday.

The top-seeded Australian was broken in her first service game but quickly rallied to take the first set when the Russian slapped the ball into the net for her 16th unforced error.

Showing no signs of being hampered by her heavily strapped left thigh, Barty battled back after being broken again in the second set and secured the victory with a fifth and final break of serve.

The 2019 French Open champion, who is looking to become the first homegrown Australian Open singles champion since 1978, will play American Shelby Rogers for a place in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Elise Mertens continued her winning start to 2021 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over 11th-seeded Belinda Bencic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The No. 18-seeded Mertens won a tuneup tournament at Melbourne Park in the week between players coming out of mandatory quarantine in Australia and when the year’s first major tournament started.

The 2018 Australian Open semifinalist will take a seven-match winning streak into her fourth-rounder against No. 25 Karolina Muchova.



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