Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has provided some advice to Ash Barty before Tuesday night’s quarter-final encounter with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova: Nullify the left-hander’s serve.
Navratilova, who hoisted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup three times among her haul of 18 grand slam singles titles, believes Barty has the ability to combat the potent serve of fellow Czech Kvitova.
Barty is gunning for her first grand slam singles semi-final berth. If she wins, she’ll be the first Australian woman to reach the Australian Open final four in 35 years.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon Greek giant killer Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, became the first man to book a spot in the semi-finals when he defeated Spain’s Roberto Batista Agut 7-5 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2).
“It all feels like a fairytale almost. I’m just living the dream, living what I’ve been working hard for,” Tsitsipas told Nine’s Jim Courier straight after the game.
“I feel a bit emotional but not too much because I know again I really worked hard to get here.”
Tsitsipas said at the start of the year he was asked what his goals for 2019 are, and he joked to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam.
“I thought when I was answering this question I was crazy,” he said.
“No, it is real and it just happened.”
The young Greek was down a break in the first and third sets before winning both.
“I know that if I keep fighting and keep pushing myself more and more, I’ll get more chances. I respected that, continued playing. I believe I earned the performance,” Tsitsipas said.
His win had Greek fans roaring in the stands at Melbourne Park, where Barty will begin her match at 7pm.
Navratilova noted Kvitova’s serving performance in her fourth-round match against precocious American teenager Amanda Anisimova, where she fired down 86 per cent of her first serves and won 83 per cent of those points.
She said Barty’s return game needs to be in tip-top shape if she wants to secure a remarkable centre court victory.