Barty right where she needs to be ahead of quarter-final clash with compatriot Tomljanovic

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty is into her first career Wimbledon quarter-final after a takedown of 2021 Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova. Now the real fun begins.

Ashleigh Barty, Wimbledon 2021

If there is one quote that aptly sums up Ashleigh Barty’s run to her first Wimbledon quarter-final this year, it would be this: “A win’s a win they always say, right?”

Barty, who was forced to retire from Roland-Garros due to injury, has worked her way back to full fitness, come through a patchy opening-round contest with Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, and gradually found her footing on the Wimbledon grass. She hasn’t been mind-blowingly good through four rounds, but the Aussie has pushed through to the last eight and is looking at a great opportunity to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final when she faces Ajla Tomljanovic on Tuesday.

On Monday Barty notched her most impressive victory of the tournament as she ended Barbora Krejcikova’s 15-match winning streak with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph that improves her lifetime record at the Championships to 8-4.

Slow start, fast finish

Though Barty was close to falling behind 5-2 against Krejcikova, the 2021 Roland-Garros champion and the No 14 seed, in the opening set, she was able to hang on to her serve in a critical seventh game, and that was the key in turning the first set around.

“That 2-4 game in the first set was a big one,” Barty said after the match. “I felt like a couple of those break points down, I think there were one or two, I played the point a bit more aggressively and was able to be a bit more assertive. That was kind of a little bit of a change.

“Probably for the first 15 or 20 minutes, I felt like I was really struggling to pick up her ball off her racquet. I wasn’t able to make enough, give myself a chance to get into games, plain and simple. Once I was able to do that, getting a break back instantly at 4-3 to level things out was a good game. Again, made more balls and gave myself a chance.”

Like many of Barty’s victories in 2021, patience and perseverance were key elements. The 25-year-old is a gamer, and she can win with plan A, plan B or plan C.

“It was just about giving myself time to settle into the match in a sense of feeling super free and super comfortable, just working my way into games,” she said.

Tomljanovic advances as Raducanu retires

It will be an all-Aussie quarter-final on Centre Court on Tuesday as Ajla Tomljanovic stopped the dream run of 18-year-old British wild card Emma Raducanu. The Aussie reaches her first major quarter-final after Raducanu, ranked 338 and a viral sensation during the first week in which she did not drop a single set, was forced to retire, trailing 6-4, 3-0.

The clash between Barty and Tomljanovic will mark the first time that two Australian women have met in the quarter-finals of any major since 1980, when Evonne Goolagong and Wendy Turnbull met at Wimbledon. Goolagong won, and went on to capture her second Wimbledon title.

“Obviously it’s incredible for Aussie tennis,” Barty said of Tomljanovic’s success at Wimbledon. “I was pumped to see Ajla through to the second week here for her first time at Wimbledon, I think. She’s been knocking on the door for a long time. She’s a great girl, has been playing some great tennis. I was rapt for her to be able to get through.”

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