Top-ranked Ash Barty moved into the Australian Open quarterfinals for the third straight year by beating Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4.
Barty lost in the semifinals last year to eventual champion Sofia Kenin and didn’t play another major tournament in 2020 after deciding to stay in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She had two match points in the eighth game of the second set but made four consecutive errors. Rogers capitalised to break and then hold and force Barty to again serve for the match.
Barty made no mistakes the second time when she held at love to close it out. Barty is aiming to be the first Australian woman since 1978 to win the Australian title. She will next play No. 25 Karolina Muchova.
Muchova rallied from 5-2 down in the first set to upset 18th-seeded Elise Mertens 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Mertens won the Gippsland Trophy tuneup tournament at Melbourne Park before the Australian Open started and won the first four games against Muchova but then started to tighten up as the Czech player found her range with her big ground strokes.
Muchova is into the quarterfinals at a major for the second time.