Top seed Ashleigh Barty will now play 14th seeded American star Sofia Kenin in the Australian Open semi-finals after the world number one went past Petra Kvitova quite comfortably on Tuesday.
The last remaining Australian in the tournament managed to win the match in straight sets after surviving a tough challenge from her opponent in the opening set of the match. She eventually clinched victory 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 to reach the semi-finals for the first time.
The victory is also being seen as successful revenge for the 23-year-old Australian as the two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had defeated her at the same stage in 2019.
However, Barty is undoubtedly a much-improved player since then- having raised her performance to a different level. She not only won the French Open last year but even reached the top of the rankings for the first time in her career.
“It’s been absolutely incredible. I knew that I had to bring my best today against Petra, and that first set was crucial,” said Barty as quoted by AFP via PTI.
It is worth highlighting that if Ashleigh wins the Australian Open she will become the first Aussie woman since Chris O’Neil in 1978 to win this tournament.
Kvitova and Barty fought out a crucial and intense seventh game of the first set.
Kvitova, 29, who suffered a severe injury to her left playing hand in a knife attack at her home in 2016, and Barty went toe-to-toe in a crucial seventh game of the first set. The game itself lasted nearly 10 minutes and Barty somehow found a way to fight off five break points and hold her serve at Rod Laver Arena.
The first set was forced into the tie-breaker and it was Barty who emerged as the better player after 69 minutes of play in the first set and was elated while Kvitova was disappointed after losing a set which could have gone either way.
The second set was dominated by Barty as she sealed a place for her in the semi-finals.