Aussie dreams of a home Australian Open winner grew more real on Tuesday as Ashleigh Barty gained revenge on Petra Kvitova to reach the semi-finals.
The world number one is the first Australian woman to make the last four in singles since Wendy Turnbull in 1984 and is aiming to become the first to lift the trophy since Chris O’Neil six years earlier.
It was at this stage last year that her challenge foundered, Kvitova powering her way to a straight-sets win, but Barty has become a grand slam champion and the best player in the world since then.
A tight first set could have gone either way but it was Barty who came through it on a tie-break, saving one set point, and she was in complete control in the second to win 7-6 (6) 6-2.
“It’s been absolutely incredible. I knew that I had to bring my absolute best today against Petra. That first set was so crucial,” Barty said.
“I just wanted to try to make the most of it and it was really good to get a quick start in the second.”
The top seed will take on Kenin in the last four. Barty has won four of her five matches against the American, but she’s taking nothing for granted.
“She’s developed a lot over the last 12, 18 months,” she said of Kenin.
“She’s a great ball striker who wants to be inside the court taking the ball either way.
“It’s about me getting my running shoes on, bringing variety and trying to bring the match on my terms as much as possible.”
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