Saturday 4 April, 2020

It's Barty time at Australian Open; local hope is into semis

Australia's Ashleigh Barty laughs during a post match interview following her win over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man).

Australia's Ashleigh Barty laughs during a post match interview following her win over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man).

Ash Barty ended a 36-year wait for her nation by reaching the Australian Open semi-finals with a straight-sets win over Petra Kvitova.

In a rematch of last year's quarter-final won comfortably by Kvitova, Barty secured a 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.

The world number one became the first Australian woman to reach the last four at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

Barty, last year's French Open champion, will face American 14th seed Sofia Kenin in the last four.

The players traded breaks to love early before Barty fought out a tough hold after a 20-point seventh game.

Last year's runner-up Kvitova targeted Barty's second serve with plenty of success, but while four consecutive games went to deuce, both held serve through to a tie-break.

A 69-minute first set went Barty's way, winning the last three points of the tie-break – which was highlighted by a 22-shot point during which the Australian showcased her defensive abilities – thanks to Kvitova errors.

Barty broke in the opening game of the second set and again in the third, producing a delicate lob to take a 3-0 lead.

A desperate and aggressive Kvitova pulled one break back in the sixth game, but handed it straight back in the next with a double fault.

Barty managed to close it out in the next game, an ace out wide seeing her complete the job.

 

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