BIRMINGHAM, England – Ashleigh Barty stunned the No.8 seed Barbora Strycova in three sets to book her spot into the Aegon Classic Birmingham quarterfinals.
Strycova was last year’s Birmingham finalist and ranked 55 places higher than Barty, but she wasn’t able to find her range against the Aussie, falling 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 after an hour and 51 minutes.
“It feels great to be in the quarterfinals here, I’ve had a great couple of matches so far here,” Barty told press after the match. “I love the grass court season, and I’ve had good success here in Birmingham in the past [in doubles]. Happy to be back here and in quarters.”
Strycova will surely rue her missed opportunities in the opening set. She brought up six break opportunities in total – three while Barty was serving out the set – but was only able to convert one. She was broken twice herself, Barty outpacing her and displaying more solid consistency.
Barty’s level dipped in the second set, though, and as the Aussie’s unforced error count grew Strycova took full advantage of the letdown to find her way back into the match and force a third set. But Barty got right back on track, breaking Strycova twice to reel off five games in a row and put an end to their encounter after nearly two hours on court.
“I think [Strycova] was a Top 20 player for a reason,” Barty explained afterwards. “She stayed solid and I gave her a few too many cheapies in that second set.
“I think I just had to change a little bit tactically, and that worked in the third.”
With the victory Barty is through to her fourth WTA quarterfinal of 2017, and her second straight on grass. She’ll take on the winner between the No.2 seed Elina Svitolina and Camila Giorgi.