Barty produces tactical masterclass in Adelaide
A rematch of last year's French Open final yet again prove a step too far for Marketa Vondrousova as she was knocked out of the WTA Adelaide International by Australia's Ash Barty.
What had threatened to be a difficult evening for Barty proved a routine 6-3 6-3 quarter-final victory before a packed house at Memorial Drive.
Barty, with just two singles matches under her belt in 2020, will have benefited from the extended practice. She has now won eight consecutive sets against the 20-year-old Czech, who lacked the self-belief to take her forceful game to the world No.1.
"It's getting better and better. There were still times when I felt I needed to be tighter and more clinical," Barty said. "It's really nice to see Marketa back out there, she is a lovely girl."
Just 24 hours earlier Vondrousova had belittled another Aussie, Arina Rodionova, 6-0, 6-0 on the outside showcourt, almost every shot a winner. Here, before 5000 fans on centre court, she failed to match that aggression as Barty took the sting out of her play with relentless sliced backhands that denied Vondrousova any power on which to build her attacks.
Yet, while it was a tactical masterclass, thrills and spills were not a staple of a first set in which Barty raced to an early lead and toyed with Vondrousova from a distance thereafter. Barty is a clever player, continually looking to move her opponent around before striking.
While Barty may be a tad rusty, Vondrousova is very much feeling her way back into the big time after missing the last six months of 2019 after undergoing wrist surgery. But you would not have known as the more she played, the more she forced her way back into the match.
But just when it looked like there might be a battle, Vondrousova overhit at 3-3 in the second set to give Barty a break point that she lapped up.
It was a home run from therein, Barty triumphant in an hour and 21 minutes.
The 23-year-old Queenslander will now face American Danielle Collins in the first match of Friday evening. Collins, who reached the last four of the 2019 Australian Open, earlier dispatching world No.7 Belinda Bencic for the loss of just four games.
"Danielle is an exceptional ball striker, she can take the match out of your hands quickly. I will have to have my running shoes on tomorrow," Barty said.
Barty leads Collins 2-0 in their matches to date, include a second round win at last year's French Open.