'So good': Fans erupt after 'insane' Ash Barty masterclass

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Ash Barty hits a backhand in her third round win at the Australian Open.
Ash Barty's lethal backhand was on song during her third round win at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

Ash Barty sliced and diced her way into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday night, in a performance that left fans salivating on social media.

A day after compatriot Nick Kyrgios' thrilling five-set loss to Dominic Thiem in front of a raucous John Cain Arena crowd, Barty's match against Ekaterina Alexandrova couldn't have been any different.

'UNBELIEVABLE': Coach storms off in crazy Aus Open drama

IN TEARS: Aus Open star breaks down in 'emotional' scenes

'WHAT IN THE WORLD': Shock over 'horrendous' Aus Open moment

Playing in front of an empty Margaret Court Arena following Victoria's five-day COVID-19 lockdown that saw fans banned from attending, Barty advanced to the fourth round courtesy of a routine 6-2 6-4 win.

The 25-year-old feeds off the legion of passionate and vocal fans that cheer on her every shot at the Australian Open, but walking onto court on Saturday night it was an eerie sensation for the Aussie star.

The roars from the crowd that fill the stadium when Barty strolls out onto court were replaced with an eerie, almost deafening silence.

Pictured here, Ash Barty played at an empty Margaret Court Arena on Saturday night.
It was an eerie atmosphere for Ash Barty inside Margaret Court Arena on Saturday night. Pic: Getty

Barty went into the third round clash under somewhat of an injury cloud, with her heavily strapped left leg a source of concern for fans.

The 25-year-old pulled out of her scheduled doubles match on Saturday, further fuelling the idea that her left thigh issue was worse than she was letting on.

The World No.1 insisted after her second round win that she was "fit as a fiddle" and that the strapping was just a precautionary measure that looked more serious than the issue was. 

Barty was slow to get out of the blocks against Alexandrova, with the Russian capitalising on a loose opening service game from the Aussie to take an early break.

The home favourite found herself 2-0 down after 29th seed Alexandrova held her own serve, before Barty turned the first set on its head.

The World No.1 steadied things on her own racquet to take her first game of the match, before a stunning resurgence that included three breaks of the Alexandrova serve.

From 0-2 down, the Aussie rattled off six games in a row to take the opening set in style.

Barty backhand carves up Alexandrova

Time and time again, the Aussie battered her Russian opponent with a ruthless backhand slice that Alexandrova simply had no answer to.

The World No.1 even managed to hit a rare backhand slice winner that crept low over the net and bounced deep into Alexandrova's back court.

In the end it was a relatively comfortable victory for Barty, who powered past the 29th seed 6-4 in the second set, with viewers left to marvel at her mastery of the backhand slice.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.