Home hero Ash Barty reached her first Australian Open semifinal Tuesday, beating the woman her upended her last year, Petra Kvitova. After a tough opening set, the 23-year-old cruised in the second for a 7-6(6), 6-2 win.
It was Barty’s fourth straight win over Czech after having lost to her in the quarterfinals in 2019. Barty becomes the first Australian woman in the semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.
“This is absolutely incredible, I knew I had to bring my absolute best today against Petra. It’s a challenge. I love it. I love testing myself against Petra. She has this way of bringing out the very best in me,” Barty said.
“She came at me with all guns blazing. That first set could have gone either way. It was really important to try and get my nose ahead when I could. It was nice to save a set point and get a roll on early in the second set with a couple of quick breaks.”
The world No. 1 will be the big favorite on Thursday against first-time surprise Slam semifinalist Sofia Kenin. The 21-year-old American got through Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 in a battle of unlikely quarterfinalists.
“It feels really good. I’m super excited for it,” said Kenin. “I think overall I played really good. I tried to handle the nerves. Obviously nerves coming into this match. I think I did a really good job handling myself.”
The 15th-ranked Kenin has made quite a run in the last 12 months, beating Serena Williams at the French and winning three titles in four finals.
“Obviously she’s having an incredible run,” said Barty of Kenin. “She’s an exceptional competitor as well. Loves to put herself out there, test herself on the biggest stage.”
On Wednesday, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza will look toward a semifinal meeting.
Halep will open play against Anett Kontaveit who is playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Muguruza, who’s been getting better each round, will match-up with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The 28-year-old Russian is 0-5 in Slam quarterfinals. She did win the Australian Open juniors twice.
You Might Like:
Halep, Muguruza Storm Into Australian QFs; Barty Out For Revenge On Kvitova
Former Wimbledon champions Muguruza, Kvitova Headline WTA Birmingham on Grass
Kvitova KO’d By Barty In Miami; Halep, Pliskova Wed. QF Favorites
Barty, Halep, Kvitova Lead 15 Of Top 20 In Wuhan
Halep, Muguruza Roll Into Australian SF Meeting; Barty Seeks Final v Kenin