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Ash Barty again shakes nerves to cruise into last 16

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Barty: I don't think anyone could care less if an Aussie wins (0:48)

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- There was a real sense of déjà vu in the early proceedings of Ash Barty's third round Australian Open match on Rod Laver Arena.

The world No. 1 won the toss against 29th seed Elena Rybakina, had elected to serve but was then broken to love before many of the crowd were even settled into their seats.

Uh, oh. It was an almost identical tense start to that of her first round match against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko where Barty made a series of unforced errors and found herself in an early 0-2 hole.

Barty had to wait until her third service game to hold against Rybakina, the only thing seemingly keeping her in the set was the fact the 20-year-old Kazakh was also having difficulty holding up the other end of the court.

But unlike in her match against Tsurenko, where she was unable to overcome the first set deficit and was forced to win the match in three, Barty made the speedy adjustment. She tidied up her game, flicking the switch to produce a first set turnaround befitting her world No. 1 ranking.

From two games all, the Queenslander stepped up her intensity, winning four of the next five to secure the first set in 34 minutes. She worked Rybakina around the court with a combination of brute power and crafty finesse, the near-capacity crowd cheering louder and louder with each point won.

The momentum carried into the second set. Barty's extended her advantage early, her relentlessness forcing Rybakina into a slew of errors.

While the young Kazakh was still able to carve out a number of opportunities in Barty's service games, the Australian hung tough and refused to give up another break. Yet another similarity to her first round match against Tsurenko.

A short while later Barty served for the match, completing a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win to become the first player in this year's Australian Open final 16.

"Today was probably my sharpest match I have played this summer," Barty said. "I felt really comfortable moving around the court. I felt like I found the middle of the racket a lot sooner than my other matches. It was a pretty well-rounded performance.

The win over Rybakina on Friday afternoon means Barty has now reached the fourth round in the last six majors.

She will look to equal her career-best result at the Australian Open, a quarterfinal berth, when she faces either American 18th seed Alison Riske -- who knocked her out of Wimbledon last year -- or Australian Open doubles partner Julia Goerges in the fourth round.