World No 1 Ashleigh Barty eased into the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday with a straight sets win over Russian Veronika Kudermetova.
The top-seeded Australian won through 6-3, 6-3 to set up a clash with US teenager Coco Gauff who earlier ousted Madrid winner Aryna Sabalenka.
Barty, 25, lost to Sabalenka in last weekend’s Madrid final and is warming-up for the French Open which she won in 2019.
Belarus’ Sabalenka, the world No 4 and seventh seed, fell 7-5, 6-3 to the 17-year-old Gauff, ranked 35, who reached her fourth quarter-final of the year.
“It will be great to see where my level is,” said Gauff of playing Barty. “I mean, she’s the No 1 player in the world. I have no pressure on me. I’m just going to go out there and see what I can do and try my best.”
Six of the WTA’s top ten players have already exited the Foro Italico including second-seed Naomi Osaka of Japan, four-time Rome winner Serena Williams, Sofia Kenin and Petra…