Ash Barty was on and off the court quickly in her third-round match, a straight-sets win that left her most of the rest of the day to do whatever she pleased. If she chose to watch any tennis on TV, it would have been interesting viewing.
Serena Williams and Australian Open defending champion Naomi Osaka were both beaten in her half of the draw. She couldn’t have met either until the semifinals, but their departures, along with Caroline Wozniacki, certainly improved Barty’s chances of becoming the first Australian women’s champion here since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Those results left these fourth-round matchups: Wang Qiang, who upset Williams, plays Ons Jabeur, who beat Wozniacki; 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who beat Osaka, plays fellow American Sofia Kenin; two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova takes on Maria Sakkari and Barty plays Alison Riske.
Barty and Riske have only met once before, when the American won their fourth-round match at Wimbledon last year. For Barty, that loss came only a month after she won her first major title at the French Open.
“For me, it was the end of a long trip,” Barty said. “I felt like I was pretty tired. It had been a massive few months away from home.”
In the men’s fourth-round matches, Roger Federer plays Marton Fucsovics two days after his great escape against Aussie John Millman. Federer won six straight points from 8-4 in a fifth-set super tiebreaker to eke out the win in what he called an “epic” match. Defending champion Novak Djokovic plays Diego Schwartzman, Tennys Sandgren takes on Fabio Fognini and, in a contest between big servers, Milos Raonic plays Marin Cilic.
“I think we’re both going to be trying to move the other guy around, be the one dictating,” Raonic said. “It’s going to be important for me to get ahead early in the points, take care of my serve, and be the aggressor.”
Partly cloudy, high of 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit).
Sunny and high of 27 C ( 81F).
SATURDAY’S KEY RESULTS
Men’s third round: No. 1 Rafael Nadal beat No. 27 Pablo Carreno Busta; No. 5 Dominic Thiem beat No. 29 Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 ; No. 10 Gael Monfils beat Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3; No. 17 Andrey Rublev beat No. 11 David Goffin 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Women’s third round: No. 4 Simona Halep beat Yulina Putintseva 6-1, 6-4; No. 28 Anett Kontaveit beat No. 6 Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-1; No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat No. 2 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3); No. 17 Angelique Kerber beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3; No. 16 Elise Mertens beat CiCi Bellis 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-0; Iga Swiatek beat No. 19 Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-3.
STAT OF THE DAY: 15: Winning streak for No. 17 Andrey Rublev after finishing the Davis Cup 4-0 last November, winning titles at Doha and Adelaide this month and now reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think I was a little bit — how you say — overwhelmed.” — Belinda Bencic after winning just one game in her loss to Anett Kontaveit.UNB