Ash Barty was in a jovial mood after her latest triumph at the Australian Open, throwing her trainer under the bus in a funny public humiliation.
Barty rose to the challenge on Friday and moved safely into the fourth round with a steely win over big-hitting youngster Elena Rybakina.
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Australia's world No.1 proved too classy for the in-form Kazakh, weathering an early storm before carving out a 6-3 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena.
And she continued the fireworks in her on-court interview, sledging her strength and conditioning trainer over his footy skills (or lack-thereof).
When asked about her unique pre-match preparations that usually see Barty kicking a footy around, she was asked who she enjoys having a kick with most.
“This is an absolute stitch-up for ‘Tubs’ right now,” she replied.
“My S&C trainer cannot catch a ball to save himself so we just keep drilling him every single day.
“It’s the highlight of my day, sorry Tubs.”
As for the man named ‘Tubs’, he could only bury his face in his hands in embarrassment as the crowd roared with laughter.
Ash Barty looks forward to the fourth round, including a possible meeting against her doubles partner Julia Goerges!— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 24, 2020
Stream: https://t.co/YVc8u4pCVY#9WWOS #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/BZ4nFG2j6i
Barty in cruise control
The match was much tighter than the one-sided scoreline suggested, with Barty needing to fend off eight break points against one of the hottest players on tour.
The 20-year-old Rybakina had won 11 of her first 12 matches in 2020, winning the title in Hobart after reaching the final in Shenzhen.
Litter wonder the top seed and big home hope was relieved to negotiate her way through to the last 16 for the second straight year, especially after dropping her opening service game to love.
"A really tough one. I felt I needed to be switched on,” Barty said after extending her summer winning streak to seven matches.
“A lot of the games were long and tough and happy to get out of them. The best match I have played this summer so far.”
Barty next plays either American Alison Riske, the 18th seed who knocked the French Open champion out of Wimbledon at the same stage last year, or her German doubles partner Julia Goerges on Sunday for a quarter-final berth.