Yarra Valley Classic: Ash Barty, Sofia Kenin move forward in Melbourne

Yarra Valley Classic: Ash Barty, Sofia Kenin move forward in Melbourne

The top-seeded Barty defeated Marie Bouzkova, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, while the second-seeded Kenin overcame Jessica Pegula, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, on Wednesday.

The top two seeds at the Yarra Valley Classic were tested by their respective opponents on Wednesday in Melbourne, but prevailed in deciding sets to reach the quarterfinals.

A day after returning for her first singles match in nearly a year, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty found a stiffer challenge in Marie Bouzkova. In the third set, Barty twice relinquished her advantage, but after erasing a break point at 3-3, 30-40, pulled away from the Czech to advance, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, after one hour and 56 minutes. The No. 1 seed ended her day with 41 winners to 32 unforced errors.

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The woman who beat Barty in last year’s Australian Open semifinals on her way to the title, Sofia Kenin, found herself in a trickier situation. Facing countrywoman Jessica Pegula, the 21-year-old trailed 5-7, 1-4, before navigating her way back into the contest. By the time she grabbed her first lead of the day at 1-0 in the third, Kenin powered ahead to finish off a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 win. She’ll look to clean up 10 double faults when she returns to action Thursday.

“It's funny. At 5-2 in the third set, I start[ed] making double-faults. That's the one thing I stopped doing in the second set, I was making more first serves,” the American told press. “I was like, ‘This cannot happen right now. I want to close it out, leave and be done.’ I'm happy I was able to close it out.”

Serena Williams was due to face Tsvetana Pironkova later in a 2020 US Open quarterfinal rematch, won by Serena in three sets.