Top five beckons as Barty excels on clay
Ashleigh Barty has extended her hot streak to 11 straight wins to reach her fourth quarter-final of the year after beating Yulia Putintseva in the Madrid Open.
The Miami Open champion continued her fine form by fighting back from a set down to overcome her Kazakhstani opponent 4-6 6-1 6-2.
Barty's win sets up a showdown with French Open champion Simona Halep for what will be her maiden Premier clay quarter-final appearance.
Victory over the Romanian former world No.1 would represents another huge scalp on what the Queenslander admits is not her favourite surface less than a month before the French Open gets underway.
Barty will rise to at least No.8 in the world rankings this week, but could climb to as high as fourth if she continues her run in Madrid.
Barty's overall record this season is now 23-3, losing just once since her maiden grand slam last-eight run at the Australian Open in January.
Halep earlier defeated Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 6-0 6-0, taking just 44 minutes to advance despite the appearance of rain and the court's roof having to be closed.
"(The roof) was good for me because the game was faster and I could play my best style. I think everything went very well for me today. I felt the ball, every single shot," Halep said.
"I do not think it was her best match. Maybe she (Kuzmova) was nervous before the match a little bit. It is a big tournament and it is not easy to face the top players."