Ashleigh Barty beats Maria Sharapova to reach Australian Open quarter-finals
20 January 2019, 06:08 | Updated: 20 January 2019, 16:37
Ashleigh Barty recovered from losing the first set to win nine games in a row on her way to a tense victory against former champion Maria Sharapova and reach the first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career at the Australian Open.
The 22-year-old regained her composure in the final set, having initially opened up a 4-0 lead, to seal a 4-6 6-1 6-4 win and become the first Australian woman to reach the last-eight in Melbourne for 10 years.
Barty, seeded 15th, eventually converted her fourth match point with an ace to end the hopes of Sharapova, who had knocked out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in the previous round.
"It was a little close wasn't it! I gave myself opportunities in lots of games in the third set, I couldn't take it," Barty said.
"I just had to take a deep breath and trust the work I've done with my team. She's an absolute champion and she was never, ever going to go away."
Barty will meet two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals after the eighth seed ended the run of American teenager Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-1.
The home hope lost to Kvitova, on a nine-match winning run, in the Sydney International final last week and Barty is enjoying playing in front of a passionate Rod Laver Arena crowd.
She added: "This is unreal. Playing on this beautiful court with a packed crowd, there's nothing better."
Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber suffered a stunning 6-0 6-2 defeat by unseeded American Danielle Collins in the tournament's biggest shock of the women's draw.
Collins had never won a main draw Grand Slam match before arriving in Melbourne but has now defeated three seeded players as she needed only 56 minutes to dispense of the second seed.
"I may not have won a grand slam match before this but, I've got to tell you, I think it's going to keep happening," Collins said.
The world No 35 broke the 2016 Australian Open champion, who hadn't been broken in each of her opening three matches, to love in the first game of the meeting and never looked back as Kerber couldn't handle the American's ball striking.
"It was completely not my day. I was not playing the tennis that I can play. She played really well," Kerber said.
"I think she played one of her best matches, to be honest. She hit every ball in the court. She moves good. For me, it was not my day, not my good tennis, but credit to her, she played a good match."
Collins will next meet unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after the world No 44 beat fifth seed Sloane Stephens 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3.
Pavlyuchenkova, who also reached the quarter-finals in 2017, sealed victory after two hours and thirty two minutes, with the match concluding at 1:56am.
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(c) Sky News 2019: Ashleigh Barty beats Maria Sharapova to reach Australian Open quarter-finals