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Tennis-Barty sees off Siniakova challenge to reach fourth round

LONDON: Top seed Ash Barty beat Czech Katerina Siniakova at Wimbledon on Saturday having fended off an opponent who would have fancied her chances after dropping serve just once in the last two rounds and with six career wins against top-10 opponents.

The world number one prevailed 6-3 7-5 on Centre Court to reach the last 16 after Siniakova posed a resolute challenge while failing to find answers to the Australian's immaculate sliced returns and spin.

"Certainly wasn't going smoothly. I think it was a hell of a match right from the first point," Barty said in her on-court interview. "Katerina brought an incredible level and it was a lot of fun playing out here."

Next up for Barty will be Siniakova's doubles partner and 14th seed Barbora Krejcikova, who has won 15 successive singles matches including titles at Strasbourg and a maiden Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros.

"Another great challenge, an incredible challenge," Barty said of her next opponent. "I'm very privileged to be in the second week of Wimbledon again.

"This is genuinely one of my favourite weeks of the year so to be prolonging my stay is a lot of fun but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Barbora's been playing some incredible stuff recently."

Siniakova won the doubles title with Krejcikova at the All England Club in 2018 - the Czech pair also won the French Open last month - but is no pushover when it comes to singles.

With 25-year-old Siniakova boasting wins in the past against players like Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, Barty needed to do her homework properly against an opponent just a couple of weeks younger than her.

The Australian, whose best performance at Wimbledon was also a run to the fourth round in 2019, denied Siniakova pace on the ball and used her backhand slices and drop shots heavily.

The Czech, ranked 64th, was often left dejected and deflated as she failed to dig out the sharply dropping returns from the Australian, who won her maiden major at the French Open in 2019.

But what Siniakova lacked in skill, she made up for with determination.

A single break was enough for the calm and composed Barty in the opening set and she seemed to be cruising with a double break and a 3-0 lead in the second.

But Siniakova, who got a warning after slamming her racket on her shoe in frustration following another failed return against a Barty slice, got both service breaks back.

She saved a match point to get the set back on serve at 5-5 but Barty broke back immediately and then closed out the contest when a backhand return from her opponent sailed long.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: Reuters


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