Melbourne: World No.1 Ashleigh Barty on Tuesday became the first Aussie hope to reach the women’s singles semifinals at the Australian Open in 36 years, as she defeated last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova in straight sets to reach the final four.
Barty defeated No.7 seed Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 7-6(6), 6-2 in a match that lasted one hour and 44 minutes. The 23-year-old picked up her 150th career main-draw match-win and 100th career win on hardcourt, by winning nearly three-quarters of her first-service points on the way to defeat Kvitova.
Reigning Roland Garros champion Barty is now the first Australian woman to make the singles semifinals at the Australian Open since Wendy Turnbull in 1984, 36 years ago. Turnbull is also the most recent Australian finalist at the event, having reached the championship match 40 years ago in 1980.
She will be facing Sofia Kenin of the US who also stormed into the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career after easing past Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in her quarter-final clash.
No.14 seed Kenin saved six of the seven break points to defeat Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 at the Melbourne Park in the match which lasted a little over 90 minutes. With the win, Kenin improved her head-to-head record against Jabeur to 4-1.
The 21-year-old from US was tidier on the day, with 16 unforced errors to Jabeur’s 36. The American was also sturdier on second serve during the clash, winning 55 percent of those points in her service games while claiming nearly two-thirds of Jabeur’s second-service deliveries.