• Ashleigh Barty celebrates her win against Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round at Wimbledon 2021. (Florian Eisele/AELTC Pool/PA Wire )Source: Florian Eisele/AELTC Pool/PA Wire
The World Number 1 is into the final 8 after a straight-sets win over French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
6 Jul 2021 - 9:30 AM  UPDATED 6 Jul 2021 - 9:31 AM

Ash Barty beams that she's bounced on another stepping stone towards a dream after moving fairly serenely into uncharted quarter-final territory at Wimbledon.

The Australian let out an uncharacteristically loud roar of delight on Monday, overjoyed at reaching the last-eight for the first time while providing an unhappy ending to the fairytale run of French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

"Being in the quarter, I'm happy, I'm excited," smiled Barty after her 7-5 6-3 victory over the Czech, who'd seemingly forgotten how to lose a tennis match until Barty's skill reacquainted her with the sinking feeling on No.1 Court.

"It's another stepping stone for me, another first, I suppose. It's going to be a new scenario, one that I'm going to look forward to and enjoy no matter what," said the world No.1.

"Certainly happy with the way things are going. It's a stepping stone to what is kind of one of my biggest dreams. We just keep chipping away..."

It's turning into an impressive sculpture. The top seed ended Krejcikova's amazing 15-match unbeaten streak on the tournament's famous 'Manic Monday', when all 16 last-16 matches are played, with a performance that blossomed in authority as the match progressed.

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It set up a last-eight meeting on Tuesday with either Barty's compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia's No.2, or British teenage wildcard Emma Raducanu, who were meeting later on Monday on the same court.

Either will find it tough against the world No.1 in this mood, after Barty found a way, after a demanding one hour 35 minutes, of unravelling the puzzle of the tricky Krejcikova, whose odyssey has seen her defeat all-comers on the clay courts of Strasbourg and Roland Garros.

But the grass always felt like Barty's domain - even away from the Centre Court which had become home for her in the first week - as she surpassed her Wimbledon run of 2019, when she reached the fourth round.

For even while still not being at her absolute best - she still produced more unforced errors (24) than winners (21) - Barty was able to outmanoeuvre Krejcikova and dismantle the assured all-court game of the No.17 seed with her own enviable variety of shot.

"An incredibly tough match. Honestly, she's been one of the very toughest players to beat," Barty reckoned - and for a time in the opening set, that's the way it looked as Krejcikova earned a break point to go 5-2 ahead in the opening set.

"Probably for the first 15 or 20 minutes, I felt like I was really struggling to pick up her ball off her racquet. I wasn't able to make enough, give myself a chance to get into games," reckoned Barty.

"That 2-4 game was a big one. I played the (break) point a bit more aggressively, was able to be a bit more assertive. That was a little bit of a change."

Indeed, despite getting broken in the third game and also having her delivery cracked mid-way through the second set, there never really felt much doubt about Barty's superiority. 

She earned a set point at 5-4 which Krejickova repelled, but made no mistake in the Czech's next service game, breaking her to love to take the set after 47 minutes.

The most impressive trait of Krejcikova's recent run has been her unquenchable spirit and she did earn break points early on in the second set too, forcing the Queenslander to dig deep before striking like a cobra, finding "some pretty good stuff when I needed it most" to go 4-2 up.

Amid a few drops of rain, the pair agreed to continue and though Krejcikova did break back, the Australian started knifing in her deadly slice in the next game to break for the fourth time overall, and made no mistake when serving for the match.

The fitness report was promising too, with only 24 hours to her next match. "I'm feeling great. I'm feeling ready," she smiled. 

Barty, you get the impression, is really beginning to enjoy this.

She will face compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic for a spot in the semi-finals.

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