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Ashleigh Barty serves up second Cincy semifinal, withstands Krejcikova surge
The world No. 1 reeled off the final four games of an entertaining Western & Southern Open quarterfinal clash.
Published Aug 20, 2021
WATCH: World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty wins the final four games of her quarterfinal clash with Barbora Krejcikova.
Ashleigh Barty continued her dominant streak at the Western & Southern Open, shaking off a mid-match hiccup to win a battle of 2021 major champions with Barbora Krejcikova, 6-2, 6-4, and reach a sixth semifinal of the season.
“This tournament has been here for so long and so many great champions have won this event,” Barty said in her on-court interview. “Having the fans here to enjoy it makes everything all the better.”
The world No. 1 captured her second major at Wimbledon earlier this summer but trailed the reigning Roland Garros champion by a break for much of the second set. Reeling off the final four games, Barty become the first of Cincinnati’s semifinalists in just over an hour on Center Court.
Top seed in the final big tournament before the US Open, Barty arrived eager to regain her rhythm after a bittersweet Olympic stretch that saw her come away with a bronze medal in mixed doubles but suffer an opening-round loss in singles to an inspired Sara Sorribes Tormo. After edging past Briton Heather Watson to kick off her Cincy campaign, the Aussie blitzed former No. 1 and frequent doubles partner Victoria Azarenka with the loss of just two games.
The win booked her a rematch with Krejcikova, whom she beat en route to her Wimbledon title six weeks ago. Fresh off a maiden major title in Paris, a Top 10 debut and Olympic gold in women’s doubles, Krejcikova had been similarly solid through her singles debut in Cincinnati. The No. 9 seed scored an impressive win over Garbiñe Muguruza in the previous round—overcoming the Spaniard in three topsy-turvy sets.
The matchup between Barty and Krejikova is undoubtedly a dream for tennis aesthetes; when both are at their best, they each employ a mix of retro and modern tennis, sweeping across the ball to generate awesome power while maintaining precise margins.
Barty, however, in no mood for aesthetics and began Friday’s clash in much the same fashion as she did against Azarenka. She dug out of a 0-30 deficit early in the opening set to quickly score the first break, repeating the feat to sweep the opening set with six winners to her name.
Krejcikova, who led Barty by a break in their All England Club encounter, aimed to push the Aussie to three sets with a 4-2 lead in the second.
This tournament has been here for so long and so many great champions have won this event. Having the fans here to enjoy it makes everything all the better. Ashleigh Barty
“Barbora served incredibly well in the second set and was able to take advantage of a few too many of my second serves,” Barty explained. “I just tried to be a little bit more positive on her service games and try to get myself in the points a little bit more. Happy to run away with that one in the end.”
Though she saved two break points serving for 5-3, the Czech struggled to find her range on the forehand side and handed the break back to Barty, who gamely took 10 of the final 12 points.
In all, she struck 18 winners to 20 unforced errors and allowed Krejcikova just one look at a break point all match, winning a whopping 84% of points on her first serve.
Into her second Western & Southern Open semifinal—and crucially defending the points she earned from her run in 2019—Barty will next face former No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who advanced past Petra Kvitova via retirement.
Kerber and Barty last played at SW19, where Barty won in two close sets.