Ash Barty took another step toward winning her home major. The top-ranked Australian beat Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for the third year in a row.
Barty came together from 4-2 down in the second set and tried Alexandrova’s serve to make a 4-all on her sixth break point. She then scored 10 of the last 15 points to close the match.
Alexandra, 29th, defeated former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and France’s reigning French Open champion Iga Suatek in a warm-up tournament last week.
Barty said she had never played on tour without a crowd before Saturday’s game at Margaret Court Arena. In an interview on the court, she said she liked the sound of the ball hitting the empty stadium. She added: “It’s a bit of a practice, so we’re pretty used to it.”
Barty then faces American Shelby Rodgers for a chance to reach the quarterfinals.