World no.1 Ash Barty STUNS Australian Open crowd as she steams towards the semi-finals with resounding first set victory – but there’s a tough battle ahead after unseeded American’s shock win
- Ash Barty takes on Jessica Pegula in Australian Open quarter final showdown
- Aussie star off to dream start against US opponent after winning the first set 6-2
- Winner will take on world number 51 Madison Keys in Thursday’s semi-final
The Ashleigh Barty party continues at the Australian Open as she fights for a place in the final four at her home grand slam.
The Australian world number one has won the first set against American 21st seed Jessica Pegula in her quarter final showdown at Melbourne Park.
Despite the 29C heat, Barty got off to a perfect start by claiming a break in the first game before going on to win the first set 6-2 in just 35 minutes.
She then led 4-0 in the second set.
She’s now one set away from booking her place in the semi finals at the Australian Open for the second time in her career.
The Queenslander went into the match having not yet dropped a set during this year’s grand slam.
Ash Barty has won the first set in her quarter final showdown against Jess Pegula
The winner will take on world number 51 Madison Keys after the American outsider caused a boilover to defeat fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets earlier on Tuesday.
Just two of the top 10 women’s seeds remain in the tournament, Barty and Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek.
It’s the fourth time in a row Barty has progressed to the final eight in the women’s draw at her home Grand Slam, a feat that hasn’t been achieved by an Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull in the 1980s.
Barty has equalled her result at the Australian Open was the semi finals two years ago, where she became the first Australian women in 24 years to reach the final four.
Jessica Pegula will need to come back from a set down to overcome the world number one
Ash Barty is one step closer to a maiden Australian Open title
Earlier in the afternoon, the Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis show continued into the semi-finals of the men’s doubles after another epic three set thriller.
The Aussie pair upset sixth seeded pair Tim Puetz and Michael Venus to book their spot in the final four.
They will now take on third seeded duo Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers on Thursday for a spot in the final.
Retiring star Dylan Alcott’s hopes of a eighth consecutive wheelchair quads singles title in Melbourne also remains in tact following his quarter-final win against Andy Lapthorne in straight sets.
Former AFL player Chris Judd and wife Rebecca Judd were among the crowd cheering Barty on