Things did not go right for Ashleigh Barty in her fourth-round defeat at Flushing Meadows. (Reuters/USA TODAY Sports: Geoff Burke)
No time to dwell, Ashleigh Barty has set her sights on retaining the US Open doubles crown after crashing out of the singles with a fourth-round shocker at Flushing Meadows.
- Ash Barty lost in straight sets to Chinese world number 18 Qiang Wang
- Barty will now focus on defending her US Open doubles title
- Alex de Minaur’s run also ended after he fell to Grigor Dimitrov
A philosophical Barty preferred to reflect on a watershed grand slam season, highlighted by her magical French Open triumph in June, than mope about after a 6-2 6-4 loss to Qiang Wang on Sunday.
“It’s been incredible. Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough day at the office today, but it’s been a year where we’ve hit our goals,” Barty said.
“Obviously I would have loved to have kept going here in singles, but we’ve got an opportunity to do that in doubles.
“Knowing what it was like last year to be able to lift the trophy in doubles was really cool. To be able to have another opportunity to do that now, still being able to play in doubles, is a bonus.
“We’ve had a great season in grand slams for singles. We’ve made the second week every single one, which has been really special.
“Now we’ll sit back, reflect, and look forward to a big couple months to finish off the year.”
World number 18 Wang was the highest-ranked rival Barty had played since the French Open semi-finals two months ago — and she was simply unable to rise to the occasion.
Formerly coached by Australian Davis Cup winner, the late Peter McNamara, Wang’s relentless defence and counter-punching proving difficult for Barty to deal with.
The second seed’s numbers told the story, Barty committing 39 unforced errors in 18 games and unable to convert any of nine break-point chances.
“Q was very good, very solid. I felt like she was able to put the ball with great depth in difficult positions for me,” Barty said.
“I still was able to create opportunities. Just very frustrating that on the big points today, Q played a lot better.
“It’s frustrating now. Again, give me an hour and I’ll be right. It’s an opportunity, it’s a new day tomorrow.
“Just because we’ve had a tough hour and a half on the court, it doesn’t reflect on the year that I’ve had or the couple of weeks I’ve had here in New York.
“It’s still going. Still have an opportunity to try to do well with Vika [Azarenka] tomorrow.”
Champion last year with Coco Vandeweghe, Barty and Azarenka are through to the last 16 of the women’s doubles.
The eighth seeds will play either American teenage prodigies Coco Gauff and Caty McNally or the Czech American pair of Kvete Peschke and Nicole Melichar for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Obviously playing with Coco last year, I had every intention to play with Coco in Australia [at the start of the year], kind of begin that again,” Barty said of her switch in partners.
“But after her [ankle] injury, it was a bit of a last-minute thing where I just texted Vika and said: ‘Look, I don’t have a partner. Would you be keen to play in Australia?”
“We’ve just kind of gone from there.”
De Minaur crashes out
In the men’s draw, Alex de Minaur’s campaign has come to a shuddering halt, with Grigor Dimitrov handing the Australian a grand slam reality check.
The former world number three crushed ousted de Minaur 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in their fourth-round match.
It was a deflating departure for the 20-year-old who had been eyeing his maiden grand slam quarter-final after claiming the biggest scalp of his career in round three.
De Minaur’s victory two days ago over world number 7 Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up in New York, had the Australian favourite to advance.
Dimitrov has slumped to 78th in the world after winning only one match since Wimbledon until this week and enduring a humiliating loss to world number 405 Kevin King last month in Atlanta, where de Minaur collected his second title of the year.
But after suffering five first-round defeats in his past six tournaments, the 2017 season-ending championship winner has rediscovered his touch at the final slam of the year.
He broke de Minaur once in each set to prevail after two hours and five minutes to book a quarter-final date with five-times champion Roger Federer, in what will be the Bulgarian’s first major quarter-final since last year’s Australian Open.