"I'm happy to get the victory yeah, to settle back in, but Priscilla played brilliantly in the first set," begins the former four-time world champion in her post-match interview.
Schedule Friday afternoon at Lakeside 2023 with Wesley Plaisier, Deta Hedman and Andy Baetens in quarter-finals
In the first set especially, Steenbergen's finishing was incredible. Checkouts of 118 and 126, followed by a double in leg 3 put Ashton right up against it early on. "I thought, 'all I can do is try to leave a finish', but she took everything out," Ashton recalls. "I had to dig in and I'm happy to get through there."
Although Steenbergen reached the quarter-final at the 2022 edition, Ashton was clearly the more experienced of the pair, and in the end that paid dividends. "It was just experience and digging in there, which I've always done," she explains. "And I knew I had to dig in because she wasn't missing anything."
A pioneer of the women's game, Ashton is no longer the dominant force she once was. The role of tournament favourite now goes to Beau Greaves. "We've got to raise our game to compete with her," Ashton admits, although she clearly still believes in her own capabilities. "I'm not coming to just make the numbers up. I've been waiting a long time to get this five so I'm going to fight as much as I can."