January 20, 2019,

Early rounds of battle at the Grand Slams provide endless names of players that you know, mostly dispatching of newer players that you don’t.

Unless the newer player fiercely breaks through.

More than once.

That describes the play of Australia’s number one female tennis player Ashleigh Barty affectionately known as Ash.

Ashleigh Barty is both an Australian tennis player and cricketer.

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She is the top-ranked Australian in both women’s singles and doubles, and has been ranked as high as No. 15 in singles and No. 5 in doubles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

Ash has won three singles titles and nine doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including one Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open with partner CoCo Vandeweghe.

Born in Ipswich in Queensland, Ms. Barty began playing tennis at age four in nearby Brisbane.

She had a promising junior career, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world after winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2011.

Ash made some global noise when prior to the Grand Slam in Melbourne she defeated the world’s number one player Simona Halep by breaking her serve in the final game to beat the Romanian star 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match at the Sydney International.

Here at the 2019 Australian Open Round of 16, it was time to face another big time and legendary player in Maria Sharapova.

Maria had just come off a very emotional win over Caroline Wozniacki and one had to wonder how much gas was left in the tank.

Ash rallied from a set down to beat Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 becoming the first Australian woman in a decade to reach the quarter-finals at her home Grand Slam.

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As we watched the match we noticed a pattern with the post layoff version of Maria.

She makes just too many darn unforced errors.

Here we heard the count went up to 58 during the match. If true, that is unbelievable. It almost did her in against Caroline previously. She survived that one but she could not play that way and advance against a very determined Barty who arguably is playing some of her best tennis.

Maria is a fighter and is very dangerous so she can almost come back from any deficit and it appeared she might here but at a critical point near the end of the match she dumped a very makeable ball into the bottom of the net and that was all she wrote.

Very symbolic.

The young American star Amanda Anisimova has been writing quite a story of her own.

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Amanda Anisimova is an American tennis player from New Jersey.

She is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and achieved a career high ranking of No. 87 in the world in January 2019. She was the 2017 Junior US Open champion, and has reached one final on the WTA Tour at the 2018 Japan Women’s Open.

As a junior, Ms. Anisimova was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world. She won the US Open, as well as two other Grade A titles. She also became the first American finalist at the French Open girls’ singles tournament in 14 years.

Again we are speaking of the girl’s level tournaments, not the professional major slams.

Next came the professional level.

On the pro tour, Amanda defeated a top 150 opponent before turning 15. She won her first ITF pro circuit title less than a year later.

Amanda continued to play on the ITF Pro Circuit. She broke into the top 200 by capturing her first career professional title at the $60K event in Sacramento towards the end of July, 2017 while she was still 15 years old.

Talk about a nice allowance.

She then rose to prominence at the Indian Wells Open by recording her first top 10 victory against Petra Kvitová while still 16 years old.

Extremely impressive.

Now here we are at the 2019 Australian Open, Round of 16 and guess who Amanda’s next opponent is?

None other than Petra Kvitova. The top player that Amanda defeated at Indian Wells.

Can she do it again on one of the world’s largest stages?

Once the match began we could see that Kvitova appeared to be a woman playing against, well, a teenager.

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She dominated Amanda from start to finish. It wasn’t just her skill, it was her deep, deep experience on the pro circuit battling the world’s top female tennis warriors over and over in high stress, high stakes situations.

On the largest stages.

To say that Kvitova is battle tested is an understatement.

When you look at Petra’s resume you will understand why.

Petra Kvitová is a Czech professional tennis player. Known for her powerful left-handed groundstrokes and variety, Ms. Kvitová turned professional in 2006 and has won 26 career singles titles, two of which are Grand Slam titles, the Wimbledon Championships in 2011 and in 2014.

She also won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her career-high ranking of world No. 2 was reached on 31 October 2011 and as of 14 January 2019, she is ranked world No. 6 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

As such, Kvitová is currently the highest-ranked Czech player and the second highest-ranked left-handed player, behind Angelique Kerber.

Ms. Kvitová first gained notice upon defeating then-world No. 1 Dinara Safina in the third round of the 2009 US Open. This was followed by her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships where she came up short to eventual champion Serena Williams.

No shame there. Who doesn’t?

Then, during her breakthrough season in 2011, Petra won her first Grand Slam title at the Wimbledon Championships, defeating Maria Sharapova in the final, thus becoming the first player of either gender born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam tournament title.

She also won the WTA Tour Championships, thus becoming the third player to win the tournament on debut, the others being Williams and Sharapova. She also helped lead the Czech Republic to victory in the Fed Cup final that same year.

It was the Czech Republic’s first Fed Cup title as an independent nation.

In 2012, Ms. Kvitová made the semifinals of the Australian Open and French Open, and was also crowned US Open Series champion. In 2014, she won her second and most recent Grand Slam title at the Wimbledon Championships, defeating Eugenie Bouchard in the final.

In 2015, Petra achieved the feat of making the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams after advancing to her first quarterfinal at the US Open, where she lost to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta. In 2016, she won the WTA Elite Trophy in her first appearance at the tournament, thus becoming the first player ever to win both categories of year-ending championships on debut.

Wow. Dare we say more? We certainly could.

It is understandable how an unseeded 17 year old, no matter how talented, could be a little over whelmed by the venue.

Petra, the two-time Wimbledon champion blazed her way into the Australian Open quarter-finals Sunday with an emphatic straight sets win over Amanda 6-2, 6-1.

A battle that was never in doubt.

Petra is on a nine-match win streak this year after claiming the Sydney International warm-up title and is yet to drop a set in four matches at the season-opening Grand Slam.

Femcompetitor Magazine wrote a feature article on her approximately 10 months ago. It will paint a more colorful picture of who this brilliant Czech luminary is.

Petra Kvitova, Czech Tennis Super Star, The Glass Is Always Half Full

Before we leave the Round of 16, there was another very important and shocking match that occurred.

The unseeded American star Danielle Collins is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Femcompetitor Magazine saw her talent early and wrote a feature on her.

Danielle Collins, Rising American Tennis Star, (Sigh) So Much To …

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Now it was the global news leader bbc.com who chronicled her 2019 Australian Open shocker. They reported, “Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was knocked out of the Australian Open by world number 35 Danielle Collins in the biggest shock of the tournament. The world number two was thrashed 6-0 6-2 in the fourth round in 56 minutes.”

It wasn’t just that Danielle won that was stunning. It was how she won.

As we observed the match, Angelique was completely over matched. Extremely talented as she is and currently ranked number two in the world, we have seen Angelique go on streaks of brilliance and absolute puzzlement.

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This mind boggling match spoke to the latter.

Femcompetitor Magazine previously admired and wrote about her too.

Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Can She Put Steffi’s Ghost Behind Her?

Well there you have it. The round of 16 presented legendary faces and three rising stars; an amazing 17 year old who now had to finally exit after a brilliant early run, an Australian Fem Competitor brimming with confidence behind a passionate home crowd and an American Road Warrior who is blazing a trail and accomplishing the unexpected.

We can’t wait for the quarter finals to begin.

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