No. 1 Ashleigh Barty held off a threat from French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova to advance to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 win Monday in London.
Barty, of Australia, fought back twice from a service break down in the first set, winning five of the final six games. The set turned toward Barty when Krejcikova, of the Czech Republic, couldn’t capitalize on a break opportunity that would have put her up 5-2 and serving for the set.
“Probably for the first 15 or 20 minutes, I felt like I was really struggling to pick up her ball off her racquet. I wasn’t able to make enough, give myself a chance to get into games, plain and simple,” Barty said.
“Once I was able to do that, getting a break back instantly at 4-3 to level things out was a good game. Again, made more balls and gave myself a chance.”
In the second set, seven games went to deuce, but Barty broke serve to go up 4-2 and was able to close out the set. She saved eight of the 10 break points she faced in the match.
Next up for Barty will be the winner of the match between fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and British wild card Emma Raducanu, who has captured the local crowd.
“In a sense of being in the quarters, I’m happy. I’m excited. It’s another stepping stone for me,” Barty said. “It’s another first, I suppose. It’s kind of going to be a new situation, a new scenario, one that I’m going to look forward to.”
It will be a new situation, too, for No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who was the only Top 20 player not to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament when Wimbledon began.
That changed Monday when she defeated Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 18 seed, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“I’m really happy. But this is not the final goal for me. I’m happy for now, but tomorrow is another match. I’m trying to stay focused. … I’m really happy I finally broke this wall,” Sabalenka said.
She previously reached the round of 16 twice, losing at the 2018 U.S. Open and the 2021 Australian Open.
If Sabalenka is to advance further, she will need to beat No. 21 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who rallied from a set down to upset No. 7 Iga Swiatek of Poland 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
In other action, Angelique Kerber of Germany took another step toward winning her second Wimbledon singles title, defeating American teen Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-4 to move into the quarterfinals.
Kerber, the No. 25 seed, eliminated the No. 20 Gauff in one hour, 18 minutes. While neither player was particularly sharp, Kerber converted four of five break opportunities to win.
Gauff hit six aces in the match but managed only 25 winners compared to 27 unforced errors, ending her run in London in the Round of 16 for the second straight tournament.
In the quarters, Kerber will meet No. 19 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, who eliminated No. 30 Paula Badosa of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Another Czech, No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova, topped Liudmilla Samsonova of Russia 6-2, 6-3. She will face unseeded Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland, a 7-6 (3), 6-3 winner over No. 23 Madison Keys.
–Field Level Media