Brutal Barty demolishes Rybakina to reach Melbourne last 16


Melbourne (AFP)

World number one and home favourite Ashleigh Barty said she played her best match this year in blowing away 29th seed Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-2 to barrel into the Australian Open fourth round Friday.

Barty plays American 18th seed Alison Riske or Julia Goerges -- her doubles partner -- next in Melbourne as she bids to become the first Australian to win the women's title since 1978.

Barty needed just 78 minutes to dispose of the young Kazakh and said: "I felt I needed to be really switched on for this.

"I feel it's the best I've played this summer so far."

"This is why I train and work so hard -- to come out here, I'm loving every minute," added the 23-year-old, who won the title in Adelaide before the Australian Open.

Barty was broken in her first service game at an expectant Rod Laver Arena, but the Australian top seed immediately broke back.

She exchanged breaks with the Moscow-born Rybakina again before Barty held serve for a 3-2 lead, then broke the 20-year-old for 4-2.

Rybakina, winner of the Hobart International in the week leading up to Melbourne, did not know how to respond and Barty sealed the first set in 32 minutes.

The second set was even more emphatic, Barty wrapping up a one-sided victory on the first match point when Rybakina sliced wide.