Ashleigh Barty is embracing the hype after sending her Australian Open hopes soaring with a straight-sets dispatch of the world No.1 Simona Halep to surge into the Sydney International quarter-finals.
Barty's steely 6-4 6-4 triumph five days out from the start of the Melbourne Park major has further raised expectations that the 22-year-old could become the first local to win the women's Open singles crown since Chris O'Neill in 1978.
"I certainly fear no one and I feel like I can go out there and match it with the world's best," Barty said.
"I think it's (beating the world No.1) all blown out a little bit. For me, it's another tennis player across the court.
"Yeah, I completely respect ... Simona. She's done amazing things in this sport.
"(But) it's about going out there and just trying to play the person on the other side of the net and not their reputation."
The 15th-ranked Barty has good reason to head to Melbourne brimming with confidence, having now won 10 of her past 12 matches.
Her her list of scalps also include world No.2 and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and dual grand slam winner and former No.1 Garbine Muguruza.
The Queenslander served five aces, no double-faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to the Romanian last August.
"I finally learnt my lesson," a beaming Barty said.
"She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learnt a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.
"The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We're both out here on the same court. Just very happy I was able to come out and executive."
Next up on Thursday for Barty is 10th seed Elise Mertens, the Belgian playing under Australian coach David Taylor for the first time this summer.
While Barty marches on in pursuit of a second straight final in Sydney, Halep's defeat leaves her Australian Open preparations in tatters.
The 27-year-old hasn't won a match in five months after an injury-marred end to 2018 and will also be in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons.
But last year's runner-up maintained a brave front.
"I think it was a great match after almost four months since I played one full match," Halep said.
"I think I played a good level of tennis. I had no inspiration in some important points.
"She played really well. Her slice was great today, so, yeah, she deserved to win this match.
"But also I was very close to winning. I had so many chances to break her and to take advantage, but I couldn't."