All that stands between the first Australian woman to win the Australian Open in over four decades is three more match wins.
Ash Barty is through to the quarterfinals, although she has made it interesting along the way.
Breaking her common pattern of starting slow, Barty wrapped up the first set of her match with American Alison Riske in just over half an hour.
Riske sent Barty to the exits in the 2019 Championships at Wimbledon and Riske responded to the quick loss of the first set by winning the second in seven minutes’ less time than Barty took to win the first.
Barty grabbed an early service break in the third and deciding set, but Riske returned the favour in the eight game of the final set to level the score at four games apiece.
After all the drama, the match ended on a subdued note, with Barty emerging victorious as the result of Riske double faulting on a match point while attempting to level the match at six games apiece.
The outcome in Barty’s favour was 6 – 3, 1 – 6, and 6 – 4.
Barty’s next opponent is seventh seed Petra Kvitova, with the actual date and time yet to be confirmed, although it appears the match will be held sometime on Monday.
Over on the men’s side, Nick Kyrgios is still around. He needed five sets to beat Karen Khachanov.
Kyrgios had chances to put the match away earlier and with a two sets to none advantage, was one point shy of winning a third set tiebreaker.
The final score was Kyrgios 6 – 2, 7 – 6, 6 – 7, 6 – 7, 7 – 6.
The win, accompanied by the usual Kyrgios drama, earned Nicky another shot a Rafael Nadal. It might be thought that Kyrgios might enter than match depleted of energy, while Nadal advanced to the match with Kyrgios with a quick win over Pablo Busta.
Here’s the thing, though.
This will be the eighth time the Kyrgios and Nadal meet head-to-head and Kyrgios has three Nadal scalps.
Having Nadal across the net should sharpen Kyrgios’ focus, a focus that often seems absent when Kyrgios is tasked with defeating less talented opposition.