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Ash Barty’s propensity to become the first Australian since 1978 to win the women’s individual championship in her home major has increased in a row thanks to a loss to Ekaterina Alexandrova

Barty, who was wearing a bandage and tape on her left thigh again, had taken a break in both sets, but recovered each time on the way to a 6-2, 6-4 win over 29 Russian seeds on Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open

The number one in the world meets in the fourth round against the unseeded American Shelby Rogers Rogers reached the last 16 by finishing 21st Seed defeated Anett Kontaveit with 6-4, 6-3

Barty will greatly prefer beating Rogers and making it to the quarter-finals for the third year in a row

She is the only local in singles after Australia’s best male player, 21st Seed Alex de Minaur, later that night was surpassed by Italian Fabio Fognini 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 4

There is no doubt speculation that Barty could become the first Australian to win the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup since Chris O’Neil did so 43 years ago

But Barty has made it clear in her previous media appearances at this Australian Open that she does not hear any outside noise

Your half of the draw, however, has opened up to make the path to the final a little less treacherous following the early eliminations of defending champion Sofia Kenin and sixth seed Karolína Plíšková

Barty has again downplayed fears that she has a serious hamstring injury despite wearing heavy bandages in the last two singles matches

Concern that she was managing more than general pain grew as she pulled out of a double on Friday

“We’re doing everything we can to do the best we can,” said Barty on Saturday night at her post-game media conference

“It’s a pretty little band job that looks a bit more dramatic if you just wrap it up to try and keep it going. But no, it’s good I felt like it didn’t affect me at all today.” / p>

Barty usually goes to wild applause from her home crowd at the Australian Open, but tonight it was a different story

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She was greeted by a practically empty Margaret Court Arena where spectators were banned from Melbourne Park due to Victoria’s five-day coronavirus lockdown

Barty said she appreciated playing in front of an audience for the first two rounds, although she wasn’t disturbed by the quiet of Saturday night

“I just enjoyed that it was different tonight, it was a new experience, I enjoyed challenging myself in a new setting,” she said

“But if we play at home in Australia, hopefully in a few days there will be crowds again to not only enjoy all of the tennis but to enjoy it with us too”

“For us players, we’ve been very fortunate to have crowds for the past two weeks Obviously there has been a lot of bubble tennis played and no crowds in the past 12 months”

“So it was a real treat and hopefully we can experience that in a few days”

A double mistake ended Barty’s first service game and Alexandrova then led 2-0 despite having to survive three breakpoints to get there

Barty was not unsettled, however, and she soon settled in her groove.The 2019 French Open champion won her next service game and brought Alexandrova 2-2 to victory

Two more breaks on Alexandrova serve helped Barty end the set after winning six games in a row

Alexandrova made 16 easy mistakes in the first set, but she still had her moments, and a cracking forehand on a return to service in game seven made her the highlight

A nifty backhand drop shot in the fifth game of the second set gave her a break from service that cemented her to take a 4-2 lead

The games were soon back in action when Barty held and brought Alexandrova to 4-4

In a fifth service break for the match, Barty quit her job after winning four games in a row, with an excellent forehand winner icing the win

It was an all Australian night at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday when de Minaur stepped to the surface after Barty took care of business, but the result went the other way

De Minaur had taken a straight-set win and Fognini’s last game ended in a draw in the fifth set between 14 and 12, but if the Italian was 16 Seed was tired at all, he didn’t show it

Despite de Minaur’s famous speed on the court, he was struggling to score points as Fognini drew the lines with his ground strokes and did extra damage with his forehand

Fognini, whose 17-year career has labeled him a fleeting prospect, was so consistent from the start that at no point did de Minaur take the lead during the loss of the straight sets

Rafael Nadal said he no longer worried about his suspicious back as he stepped into week two of the Australian Open by beating Briton Cameron Norrie

The 34-year-old, who tried to get Roger Federer to the top of the Grand Slam title list by just winning his second title in Melbourne, was not at his best against Norrie but still drove to a 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 win

He said the most positive aspect of his routine third-round win was that the lower back problem, which was hampering its build and preventing it from serving properly, had been greatly improved

“The back didn’t get better day by day. Today it got better,” Nadal, who is associated with Federer in 20 major individual titles, told reporters

“Was the first day I felt an improvement and that is the most important thing for me today, more than anything”

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Ash Barty, Alexandrova, Ashleigh Barty, Barty, Ekaterina Alexandrova

World news – AU – Ash Barty, the last Aussie at the Australian Open, de Minaur loses to Fognini