Ash Barty has marched through to the fourth round of the Australian Open and struck fear in her rivals on the way.

World No.1 Ash Barty has marched through to the fourth round of the Australian Open and sent a chill through her rivals’ camps on the way.

The highlight of the star Australian’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova was a phenomenal backhand slice late in the first set.

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Barty danced along the baseline to return a deep Alexandrova ground stroke and left the 32nd rank stunned, hugging the sideline with a perfectly crafted slice.

“Talk about using every inch of the court,” Nine commentator Jelena Dokic said.

“This is a nasty slice. How low did it stay over the highest part of the net in the short part of the court?”

https://twitter.com/wwos/status/1360513152731996163?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Co-commentator Sam Smith was also astounded at the skill on display.

“Yes, well the Alexandrova game has been forensically examined hasn’t it, in just over half an hour that they’ve been out here on Margaret Court Arena,” Smith said.

“That will frighten players in the locker room.”

Barty said she had planned to use her backhand slice as a chief weapon against Alexandrova.

“Sometimes I love to overuse it but it was certainly something I wanted to implement a lot tonight, just to try and change the tempo of the match and get it back on my terms,” Barty said.

“Hopefully it then brings me some forehands as well.

“I’m happy with how I was able to control it tonight in all different parts of the court.”

Barty picks apart 'frightening' backhand slice

Barty is now set to face world No.57 American Shelby Rogers in the round of 16.

Barty tonight became the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt (2003, 2004, 2005) to have reached the fourth round of Melbourne’s Grand Slam in three consecutive years.

https://twitter.com/brett_graham/status/1360522793129967618?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

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