Barty beats defending champion Azarenka in Cincinnati

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Top seed Ashleigh Barty spent just 71 minutes on the court to defeat defending champion Victoria Azarenka 6-0 6-2 and reach the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

After a shaky performance in the previous round, Barty stormed past the 14th-ranked Azarenka and improved her 2021 record against Top 20 players to 13-1. The Australian won 27 of 31 points behind her first serve, including six aces. Even though her performance on second serve was very poor at 30%, Azareka’s was even worse.

The crucial advantage in Barty’s performance was the fact that she saved all three three break points she faced, while Azarenka faced nine break points and dropped serve five times.

Last year at the Western & Southern Open, which was played in New York because of the pandemic, Azarenka won her first title since 2016 Miami Open via walkover by Naomi Osaka in the final.

Barty’s quarterfinal opponent will be reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, as the Czech defeated two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-7(5) 6-2 in the round of 16. The ninth seed, who has now won 25 of her last 27 matches, hit 14 aces and never dropped serve, even though the match was a three-setter.

In their sole previous meeting, Barty defeated Krejcikova en route to Wimbledon 2021 title. (photos: Jimmie48)

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