MELBOURNE: Clinical top seed Ashleigh Barty kept her unblemished record this year intact with a straight-sets demolition Friday of Camila Giorgi to set up a fourth-round clash with American giant-killer Amanda Anisimova.
The world number one is now 7-0 for the season after winning the Adelaide International and has yet to drop a set, easing past the Italian 30th seed 6-2, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
She was widely expected to face defending champion Naomi Osaka as the next hurdle on her quest for a maiden Australian Open, but the Japanese superstar was stunned by unseeded Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10/5).
"Each match of tennis, there are no certainties," she said of playing Anisimova instead of four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.
"You have no idea what's going to happen. You just have to navigate your way through as best you can that given moment.
"I have done a good job of that this week. Now it's exciting to get to play Amanda again. We've played before. It will be nice to play each other again in a big match."
Anisimova is also unbeaten this season after winning a lead-up event in Melbourne, but faces a massive assignment against Barty, who has not seen her vaunted serve broken since her first match of the season, reeling off 57 consecutive holds.
Looking to become Australia's first women's champion in 44 years, Barty has lost just eight games in her three Grand Slam matches.
The two have history, with Barty battling into her first career Grand Slam final with a stunning comeback at the French Open in 2019 against the American.
Barty was staring down the barrel of defeat in their semi-final after a first-set collapse, but rallied to take the last two sets and the match.
"That was a turning point in my career and you have to be able to take learnings from those moments, as hard as they are sometimes, and I was able to navigate and find a way through," said Barty.
She added: "Amanda has played a fantastic tournament. She deserves her spot in the round of 16."
That French Open effort from Anisimova propelled her to 21 in the world, but her father died of a heart attack soon after and she plunged down the rankings as she grieved and dealt with injuries.
Now ranked 60, she saved two match points in the third set against Osaka to snap a nine-match losing streak against top-20 players.
"I'm speechless, I can't stop smiling," said the 20-year-old, who won the Melbourne Summer Set tournament at the start of the year and beat Tokyo Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in round two.
"I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance. Naomi is always going to be playing well, she is an absolute champion.
"So I really had to step up my game and try to be aggressive.
"That's what I started doing in the second set and so grateful I was able to do this well today and get the win. It means a lot," she added.