Barty eases into Australian Open semis, Krejcikova out

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 25 (EFE).- Ashleigh Barty on Tuesday put on yet another dominating performance against Jessica Pegula to book a spot in the Australian Open semifinal.

The local favorite needed a little over an hour to defeat the US player 6-2, 6-0, to match her best Australian Open run without dropping a set.

Pegula, who stunned fifth seed Maria Sakkari in the previous round, struggled on serve, especially in the second set, winning only 50 and 25% of the first and second serve she put in play respectively.

On the other side of the court, the first seed was in good shape serving, winning 81 and 56% of the first and second serve put in play throughout the match.

The two-time Grand Slam champion earned an early break for a 2-0 lead and fended off a break point at 2-1, the only one she would face, before securing a second break in the seventh game.

The 27-year-old was no match for Barty’s heavy-hitting and she crumbled in the second set.

“That was solid tonight,” Barty, 25, said after the match. “I was able to serve and find a lot of forehands in the centre of the court”.

“I was happy to take the game on; be aggressive off my forehand, not worry if I miss a couple as long as I’m doing the right thing,” she added.

Barty would have to cling on this spirit when she takes on a revived Madison Keys, who pulled off yet another top-10 win in Melbourne.

The US’ player knocked out fourth-seed Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2, having sent home Spaniard Paula Badosa, the eighth-seed, in the previous round.

Keys, a former top-10 player herself, did so in style, facing zero break points and capitalizing on five out of nine break points she carved out, proving that last season’s struggles are a thing of the past.

The 2017 US Open finalist won as little as 11 matches throughout 2021, but she headed into the Australian Open on a five-win streak, a title in Adelaide International 2 included.

“I think I’m going to cry,” Keys said. “It means a lot and last year was really hard.”

“I did everything that I could with my team to just really reset this off-season and focus on starting fresh and new, really just starting from zero and not worrying about last year,” she added. EFE


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