Barty advances to French Open fourth round
Ash Barty continues impressive Roland Garros run, defeating former semifinalist Andrea Petkovic in the third round.
Ash Barty’s potential path to a French Open title has been blown wide open after Serena Williams and world No.1 Naomi Osaka both lost on the same day the Australian calmly booked a spot in the fourth round.
The eighth seed extended her career-best run in Paris with a calm 6-3 6-1 third round defeat of German Andrea Petkovic.
Her win came as Williams, Barty’s scheduled next round opponent, lost to American countrywoman Sofia Kenin while projected quarterfinal opponent Osaka also lost.
“For me it’s easy not to look ahead,” Barty said.
“Obviously there’s talk and it’s unavoidable to hear what else is happening around the draw.
“But for me, I can’t control any of that. I can’t control what other girls are doing.
“I can only control how I prepare, how I play, and ultimately how we go about my next match.”
Barty cruised past German veteran Petkovic to reach the final 16 without dropping a set in what has been an efficient and composed campaign from the 23-year-old.
“I’ve been able to close out matches well,” Barty said.
“I’ve been able to win some matches in business-like fashion, but they’re certainly not easy matches, that’s for sure.
“I feel like I’m playing well and being able to execute to make the score lines look a little easier than the match actually is.”
A string of high-profile exits leaves only defending champion Simona Halep (third seed) and last year’s finalist Sloane Stephens (seventh seed) as higher-ranked women than Barty in the draw.
Yet Barty, who improved her season record to 26-5, is prepared to be tested against No.35-ranked Kenin.
“She’s played an incredible match, obviously, to beat a world-class champion,” Barty said of her next opponent.
“And the challenge will be just as great coming from her as it would have been if it was Serena.”
Barty is aiming to become the first Australian to win the Roland Garros title since Margaret Court in 1973.
Aussie results – Day 7
 Ash Barty d Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3 6-1
 Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d Jordan Thompson 6-4 6-4 6-0
 Sam Stosur/Shuai Zhang (CHN) d Danielle Collins (USA)/Sabrina Santamaria (USA) 6-4 6-4
 Hao-Ching Chan (TPE)/Oliver Marach (AUT) d Jessica Moore/Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND) 5-7 6-1 [10-5]
Aussies in action – Day 8
 Ash Barty/Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Belinda Bencic (SUI)/Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK), Court No.7, third match
 John Peers/Henri Kontinen (FIN) v  Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR), Court No.1, second match
 John Peers/Shuai Zhang (CHN) v Marton Fucsovics (HUN)/Timea Babos (HUN), Court Simonne-Mathieu, fourth match
Annerly Poulos v Antonia Samudio (COL), Court No.8, third match
 Rinky Hijikata v [Q] Roman Andres Burruchaga (ARG), Court No.12, third match