Madison Keys, Barbara Krejcikova breeze to victories, set up clash in Australian Open quarterfinals

ByEspn.com News Services via via logo
January 23, 2022, 1:49 AM

MELBOURNE, Australia -- French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 win over two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Sunday to reach the quarterfinals for the third time in four Grand Slam events.

The fourth-seeded Krejcikova was ousted in the second round of her two previous trips to Melbourne Park and is into the last eight at the Australian Open for the first time.

She'll next play Madison Keys, who reached the semifinals in Australia in 2015 and was runner-up at the 2017 US Open.

Keys overpowered eighth-seeded Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1 in the first of the fourth-round matches on Day 7 at Rod Laver Arena.

The 26-year-old American, who beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round, hit 26 winners and made only 18 unforced errors against Badosa to continue her unbeaten start to 2022. She claimed her sixth career title at a tuneup tournament in Adelaide last week.

Krejcikova went into her match against Azarenka believing the 32-year-old former No. 1-ranked player from Belarus was the favorite to win.

"She's a champion here. She likes this court. She's very experienced on this court. I have a lot of respect for her," Krejcikova said. "[But] I was doing everything to get this one, really preparing for a dream like this.

"And yeah, I'm in the quarterfinals."

Krejcikova needed only 85 minutes to beat the 2012 and 2013 champion, who made 28 unforced errors and dropped five service games.

In later matches, top-ranked Ash Barty was scheduled to play No. 60-ranked Amanda Anisimova, who saved two match points before upsetting defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round.

The winner of that match between Barty and Anisimova will play No. 21-seeded Jessica Pegula, who beat fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-6 (0), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

In first-round juniors action, Meshkatolzahra Safi made history as the first Iranian girl to play in a junior Grand Slam, and then became the first to win a match. Safi, 17, defeated Anja Nayar, 6-4, 6-3.

Safi, a Frenso State commit, became the first Iranian player to enter the top 100 of the world junior rankings earlier this month and arrived at the Australian Open ranked No. 87. Safi attracted attention on social media on Sunday for wearing a headscarf, leggings under her shorts and a long-sleeved shirt while playing.

Safi is also in the junior doubles draw.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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