Mornington VIC, Australia, 29 March 2018 | David Packman

Matthew Barton has blasted his way into the Mornington Peninsula Tennis International #2 quarterfinals after dispatching Melbourne teen Matthew Romios 6-1 6-0 in just 48 minutes.

Romios has been in some promising form on the Australian Pro Tour of late but was no match for the big-hitting Barton, 26, who continues to improve after his return from a long injury lay-off.

Barton – who backed up his first-round win over fifth seed Luke Saville –  said, “I’m playing pretty well this week, I feel like I’m striking the ball better and my level is really good at the moment.”

“I was really happy with the win over Saville, we’ve had a pretty big rivalry in the past so it’s always close between us. To win that pretty comfortably is always nice.”

After nearly eighteen months on the sidelines with plantar fasciitis in his heel, Barton is just pleased to be back playing competitively.

“I just couldn’t run for a long time. It’s a tough injury to overcome, but I’m really happy with how my body is now. It’s probably the best I’ve felt in a few years.

“It’s all about getting matches for me at the moment,” he added. “I’ve hardly played in the last year and a half, so these wins are just so helpful and to get on the court and play match after match is great. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

“I haven’t even checked,” Barton said of the draw. “But everyone’s competing well so whoever I come up against it’s going to be tough.”

He will face Andrew Whittington for a place in the semifinals, the second seed an easy victor over Kiwi Rhett Purcell.

In the remaining quarterfinals on Friday, third seed Max Purcell – a finalist last week – plays Blake Ellis (No.6) while fourth seed Andrew Harris comes up against the unseeded James Frawley.

Top seed Marc Polmans continues his quest for five consecutive Australian Pro Tour titles and a successful defence of his two Mornington titles from last year when he takes on Matthew Dellavedova.

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