PARIS, France -- No.8 seed Ashleigh Barty continued her breakthrough year at the Grand Slam events with her first-ever trip to the Roland Garros quarterfinals, ending the tremendous run of American Sofia Kenin, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 on Monday.
Barty, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal on home soil in Melbourne this year, emerged victorious in the three-set tussle after 90 minutes of play, which confirms she will be the only player to reach the quarterfinals of this year’s first two majors.
"Obviously's there's a little bit more talk around and a little bit more attention," Barty said, during her post-match press conference. "But for me, nothing changes. Very much we go through the exact same process after a match. Whether it's a win or a loss, it's the same recovery, same everything.
"I think that's probably what I've been doing best over the last 12 to 18 months. And it's put me in better positions. I'm in these positions now because I'm doing that better."
The Australian, who won the Miami Open earlier this year for the biggest title of her career, was helped along by her serve to get her through the tilt, firing 11 aces and winning 76 percent of points on her first serve to extend her head-to-head lead over Kenin to 3-0.
Kenin, coming off of her noteworthy third-round upset of three-time Roland Garros champion Serena Williams, out-winnered Barty by 28 to 25, but was derailed by 29 unforced errors in total, to Barty's 17.
"Sofia served particularly well, especially early in the second set," said Barty. "I didn't really get too many looks at second serves until that game up 5-3, but I felt that was a really important game to try and get a little bit of momentum going into the third. And then tactically in the third set, I was much smarter and sharper out there."
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2019
In the elite eight, Barty will face another American: last year’s semifinalist Madison Keys, as the No.14 seed dispatched Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in straight sets earlier on Monday. Barty and Keys have won two matches apiece in their rivalry. Keys won their only prior match on clay, in straight sets at 2017 Roland Garros. Barty won their only match since then, in Fed Cup this year.
"I played [Madison] here at the French Open a few years ago in a match I would love to forget," Barty admitted. "So I think it's very much a fresh, clean slate from this match, at Fed Cup that we had as well. Different surface. I mean, as different as you can probably get, indoor hard to an outdoor clay court.
"I think it's an amazing opportunity for me to go out there and try and play my brand of tennis again, and take it to her as much as I can. She's obviously had really good success here in the past."
Barty had a hot start to the match, firing three aces in her first service game, then blasting consecutive forehand winners to start the second game, en route to an early break and resulting 2-0 lead. The Australian then fended off a break point in the following game with clutch powerful serving, as she opened up a 3-0 lead, which she extended to 5-1 after a second break of Kenin.
However, Kenin was aggressive when she had chances, particularly on her returns. The American’s backhand, which served her well in the latter stages of her upset of Williams, led her to a service break for 5-2, erasing a set point in the process. Barty, though, was able to hold serve two games later for the one-set lead.
Kenin continued to ramp up the aggression as the second set commenced, moving further into the court to try to dictate play. It paid off for the American when she earned a crucial break early in the second set for 2-0, and she kept finding winners to consolidate and reach 3-0.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2019
Barty was unable to reach break point while Kenin eased to a 5-3 lead, and the American garnered a chance to serve for the set. Kenin finally blinked in the set, as she saw two set points come and go and had to evade Barty’s first two break points of the set. But Kenin’s forehand came through at the set’s conclusion and she leveled the match at one set apiece.
In the end, though, Barty blitzed through the final set to book her spot in the last eight in Paris. The Aussie deployed her slice backhand frequently in the decider, drawing errors from the American as she jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Barty found an ace exactly when she needed it, blasting one on game point to notch a 3-0 advantage.
Just as in the first two sets, the player who jumped out to 3-0 ended up claiming the frame, although this one was completed with minimal fuss, as Barty broke Kenin twice more to attain the bagel and queue up a meeting with Madison Keys in the quarterfinals.