Ashleigh Barty news: Former top ten player tells us why she is Australian Open favourite

Kevin Palmer
Ashleigh Barty celebrates victory

World number one Ashleigh Barty overcame a big hurdle on her path towards what she hopes will be a first Australian Open title and a former top ten player has revealed why she is the player to beat in the women’s game.

The home favourite took on young American Amanda Anisimova, who had stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, and booked her spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-3 victory.

Anisimova enjoyed feeding off the power of Osaka but Barty did not give her the same rhythm, using her backhand slice intelligently and consistently putting the ball into the corners as she made it through to the quarter-finals for a fourth consecutive year.

Now former top ten performer Barbara Schett has told Tennis365 that Barty has the variety and class to add Australian Open glory in front of her adoring home crowd to her list of achievements in the next few days.

“I have to say that my favourite is Ash Barty at the moment,” Schett said, speaking to Tennis365 at a Eurosport event.

“She has this unbelievable combination of a really heavy forehand, a big serve and that nasty slice. She has that spin on the backhand. She looks extremely fit as well and is really excited to play at home. Most players have a real problems dealing with her slice.”

Barty did see her run of 63 consecutive service holds come to an end when Anisimova was broken early in the second set but she won six of the next seven games, but she was content with her performance.

“It has been tough for a lot of people around the world,” Barty said of the pandemic.

“Tennis players were able to continue playing and that was an absolute bonus but to have the crowd here brings a lot to the sport. It brings enjoyment to me, and it’s a lot more fun playing at home when I get to share it with everyone else.

“I’m just so happy to be playing here in Australia in front of my home fans and let’s hope we can keep this going.”

The Australian Open will be live on discovery+ and Eurosport through to the finals on January 30th.