MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ashleigh Barty rallied from a set down to beat former world number one Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4 at Melbourne Park on Sunday, becoming the first Australian woman in a decade to reach the quarter-finals at her home Grand Slam.
Sharapova, a five-times Grand Slam champion, looked in control after converting her third breakpoint in the ninth game of the first set and following it up with a service hold to love to take the opening stanza.
But Barty, roared on by raucous support at Rod Laver Arena, fought back to break twice in the second set and level the match as unforced errors crept into the Russian’s game.
Barty broke Sharapova twice for a 4-0 lead in the decider and while the 2008 champion fought back to win three straight games it was not enough to stop the 22-year-old becoming the first Australian woman to reach the quarters since Jelena Dokic in 2009.
Barty will meet twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals after the eighth seed thrashed American teenager Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-1 earlier in the day.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)