Novak Djokovic has accused critics of subjecting him to a “witch hunt” after his regional Adria Tour tennis event ended in a coronavirus fiasco and said he was still uncertain whether he would play at the August 31-September 13 US Open.
Petra Kvitova has crushed Ashleigh Barty’s Australian Open title dream with a ruthless quarter-final defeat of the great home hope.
The dual Wimbledon champion put paid to Barty’s hopes of ending Australia’s 41-year singles title drought in Melbourne with a 6-1 6-4 victory on Tuesday night.
“Sorry, guys. I beat Ashleigh,” Kvitova told the subdued crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
“She’s such a nice person and you should be very proud of her.”
The first Australian to make the women’s last eight since Jelena Dokic a decade ago, 22-year-old Barty was a passenger for most of the match, powerless to stop Kvitova’s fearsome assault.
In an ominous sign, Kvitova clubbed three breathtaking backhand winners to break Barty in the second game of the match.
Playing fearless first-strike tennis, the Czech saved a break point on her own serve the very next game with a angled crosscourt forehand winner to consolidate her advantage and forge ahead 3-0.
Continuing the onslaught, the sixth seed broke Barty to love in the sixth game before closing out the opening set in 27 minutes.
Barty made a more confident start to the second set, holding with her first ace of the night.
Kvitova found herself a break point down in the next game but answered with successive aces to add to the frustration of Barty and home fans.
Unfazed by a time violation after exceeding the 25 seconds allowed between points, Kvitova calmly held serve from 30-30 to level at 4-4 before breaking Barty for a third time to clinch victory after just one hour 27 minutes.
Unbeaten in 2019, Kvitova will play unseeded American Danielle Collins in the semi-finals on Thursday after advancing to the last four of a major for the first time since having her left playing hand shredded in a vicious home stabbing in December, 2016.
“I didn’t really imagine to be back on this great stadium and play with the best and it’s great,” the 28-year-old said, fighting back tears having been told by doctors she’d be unlikely to ever play again after the attack.
“I want it bad.”