Barty eases into fourth round with win over Sakkari

Tennis – Australian Open – Third Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2019. Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in action during the match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari. REUTERS/Aly Song

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ashleigh Barty eased past Greek Maria Sakkari 7-5 6-1 to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday, keeping alive local hopes of a home women’s champion.

Under a closed roof at the Rod Laver Arena due to morning showers, the 22-year-old Barty, ranked 15th at her home Grand Slam, broke Sakkari twice in each set to seal the win in an hour and 22 minutes.

Barty, who has also played elite-level cricket, served 13 aces and matched her best Grand Slam showing after reaching the last 16 stage at the 2018 U.S. Open.

Barty will come up against a former world number one in the next round as she awaits the winner of the third round clash between holder Caroline Wozniacki and former champion Maria Sharapova.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford

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