By Courtney Walsh
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Home hero Ash Barty will play an Australian Open quarter-final for the fourth straight year after defeating emerging talent Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 in Melbourne on Sunday.
The world number one was able to handle a spirited challenge from the American, proving the steadier player on key points through the 74-minute contest at Rod Laver Arena.
Although Barty had her stunning streak of 63 straight service holds broken, her ability to absorb the power of her 20-year-old rival and draw errors proved critical.
Seeking to become the first local since Chris O’Neil in 1978 to win the Australian Open, Barty will play another American in Jessica Pegula on Wednesday for a spot in the semi-finals.
Barty praised Anisimova, who she defeated in a semi-final at Roland Garros in 2019 on the way to winning the French Open.
“She’s an incredible athlete, an incredible competitor, one of her best attributes is she turns up point after point after point,” she said in her on-court interview.
“It’s just nice to see her back playing her best tennis. She’s going to be in a lot of deep stages of a lot of majors in her future, that’s for sure.
Of her own game, she added, “It was nice to be able to hold firm and bring the points back into my patterns more regularly and the big ones when it mattered most.”
(Reporting by Courtney Walsh in MelbourneEditing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)