Ash Barty has moved into uncharted territory at Wimbledon, reaching the quarter-finals for the first time by ending the fairytale run of French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Australia’s top seed ended the Czech’s 15-match unbeaten streak on the tournament’s famous second week ‘Manic Monday’, winning 7-5 6-3 with a performance that grew in authority during the match.
It set up a last-eight meeting with either her compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia’s No.2 player, or British teenage wildcard Emma Raducanu, who were meeting later on Monday on the same court.
Either will find it tough to tackle the world No.1 in this mood, after Barty found a way of unravelling the puzzle of the tricky Krejcikova, who hadn’t lost a match while sailing to victory on the clay courts of Strasbourg and Roland Garros.
Barty began nervously, getting broken in just the third game, courtesy of a double fault and wayward errors off either wing.
Krejcikova, playing remarkably in her maiden Wimbledon main draw, looked perfectly comfortable on her own delivery, until a calamitous eighth game when she gifted Barty a double, a simple netted volley and a sorry backhand into the net.
Barty gradually started dictating, earning a set point at 5-4 which Krejickova repelled but making no mistake in the Czech’s next service game, breaking her to love to take a set during which she’d never looked completely at home after 47 minutes.
The most impressive trait of Krejcikova’s recent run has been her unquenchable spirit and she inevitably hit back, earning break points early on in the second set and forcing the Queenslander to dig deep.
But after soaking up the pressure, Barty struck like a cobra, playing a couple of dazzling points, including one lovely drop shot-lob combination, to make it 4-2.
Krejcikova bounced back again to break, helped by a Barty double, but when the Australian started knifing in the slice in the next game to break for the fourth time overall, she made no mistake when serving for the match, prevailing after one hour and 35 minutes.