Top seed Barty through to Australian Open fourth round


orld No1 Ashleigh Barty is safely through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets on Saturday. 

The top seed recovered from a sloppy start, being broken in her first service game, to secure a 6-2 6-4 win in front of empty grandstands at the Margaret Court Arena

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.

While most other players have seen plenty of empty courts on the WTA tour over the last year, it was a new experience for Barty, who elected to stay home while the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world.

“It’s very strange, I’ve never experienced it before in my life,” she said. “It changes the sound of the court. Bit rude but I like it. I love the crowd but I loved the sound of the ball.”

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.

Additional reporting by Reuters. 

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