Quarterfinal action at the Australian Open saw Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic defeat home favourites Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena to advance to the semifinals where they will now play Andrea Hlavackova and Shuai Peng.
Barty/Dellacqua get off to a perfect start
From the moment the match began, Barty and Dellacqua hit their stride. A backhand long from the French pair brought up a break point for the Australians. The 20-year-old Aussie smashed a forehand winner to get the first break. They backed it up with a hold of serve to put themselves 3-0 up. Mladenovic calmed the nerves and got her and Garcia on the board in the next game.
Just two games later, the unseeded Australian pair continued to cause all sorts of problems as double break point chances appeared. A poor volley from the French allowed Dellacqua to intercept and play a volley winner at the net to break for 1-5. A good first serve from Dellacqua brought up a set point, which they took at the first time of asking to grab the set.
French pair battle back; forces the third set
The start of the set saw five holds of serve but this time, the French pairing of Mladenovic and Garcia were fairing much better, while the Australians progress were beginning to slow down. The top seeds continued to battle back and a forehand return from a poor serve gave Garcia/Mladenovic two break points at 15-40.
They found an opening and broke, with the momentum beginning to swing in their favour. Caroline Garcia then comfortably held serve hitting an ace down the middle to go 5-2 up. Serving to stay in the set, the Australians crumbled and faltered, hitting an unforced error which set up triple set points for the French. A forehand return from Mladenovic forced the error as the match was sent the distance.
French pair race away with the third set; book spot in semifinals
The French pair continued to dominate and Garcia held serve immediately pretty comfortably. A poor serve allowed Garcia to generate power and fire a return forehand winner to the feet of Barty which caused her by surprise and set up a break point opportunity. Godo play at the net from the 31-year-old Aussie saved the break point, sending the game to deuce. However, in the next game, a breakpoint was brought up.
This time, they took their chances with Mladenovic hitting a volley winner. The French pair consolidated the break for a 3-0 lead with the match turned on its head. Dellacqua got the Aussies on the board by holding serve. But the Fench pair continued to power through and the fifth game saw more break point go their way. A missed forehand by Barty made it 5-2 to the number one French team. They served it out and booked a spot in the semifinals.