Ashleigh Barty into her first Wimbledon quarter-final

Australian beats French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the last 16

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates after beating Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova at Wimbledon. Photograph: Getty Images

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates after beating Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova at Wimbledon. Photograph: Getty Images

 

There is something so simple and reassuring about the way Ashleigh Barty goes about her business. The Australian is the favourite for the Wimbledon title, the world No 1 and, in theory, under more pressure than anyone else remaining in the draw. But every time she has found herself in a hole at this year’s tournament she has been able to dig herself out.

With her every move being followed closely back home, Barty carries the hopes of a nation 50 years after Evonne Goolagong Cawley, her friend and mentor, won her first Wimbledon title. It is an anniversary she is celebrating by wearing a scallop dress, which she checked first was OK with Goolagong Cawley.

Barty’s 7-5, 6-3 win against the French Open champion, Barbora Krejcikova, on Monday put her through to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time, another example of just how good she is at solving problems.

Trailing the Czech 4-2 in the first set and within a point of going 5-2 down, Barty steadied the ship and started to attack, taking the game to Krejcikova. It was a simple, instinctive decision and one that paid off as she recovered to pinch the first set before pulling away in the second for victory.

“That 2-4 game in the first set was a big one,” said Barty, who now plays the winner of the match between Emma Raducanu and Ajla Tomljanovic. “I felt like a couple of those break points down, I think there were one or two, I played the point a bit more aggressively and was able to be a bit more assertive. That was kind of a little bit of a change.

“Probably for the first 15 or 20 minutes, I felt like I was really struggling to pick up her ball off her racket. I wasn’t able to give myself a chance to get into games, plain and simple. Once I was able to do that, getting a break back instantly at 4-3 to level things out was a good game.

“Again, I made more balls and gave myself a chance. It was just about giving myself time to settle into the match in a sense of feeling super free and super comfortable, just working my way into games.”

Krejcikova might be gone but Karolina Muchova is still going strong, the country’s seemingly unending conveyor-belt of talent producing yet another player capable of big things. Ten years after Petra Kvitova’s first Wimbledon triumph, Muchova, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open this year, defeated Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4 to reach the last eight, just as she did in 2019.

The 24-year-old cannot remember Kvitova’s first win – she says she was probably at school – but what Krejcikova did in Paris has had an effect. “It definitely showed me that it’s really open on the women’s side,” the No 19 seed said. “And each grand slam, there can be a new grand slam champion. So that definitely showed me this. That’s good. Good to see and good to know.”

Muchova will play the 2018 champion, Angelique Kerber, who ended the run of Coco Gauff with a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Ons Jabeur continues to blaze a trail, the Tunisian seeing off the 2020 French Open champion, Iga Swiatek, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 and setting up a match against the No 2 seed, Aryna Sabalenka. Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, the world No 66, will take on another Czech, Karolina Pliskova, having defeated Madison Keys 7-6 (3), 6-3. - Guardian

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