Sports

Barty, Kenin in Australian Open semi-finals

MELBOURNE, Jan 28 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/28/2020 12:50:58 PM IST

Ashleigh Barty stormed into her maiden Australian Open semi-final on Tuesday with an emphatic 7-6(6), 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova that avenged her defeat to the hard-hitting Czech in last year’s quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

Thrashed 6-1, 6-4 by eventual finalist Kvitova 12 months ago, top seed Barty rode a wave of crowd support as she defused the twice Wimbledon champion’s power game before running away with the contest on a glorious afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.

“It’s been absolutely incredible, I knew I had to bring my absolute best against Petra,” Barty said on court.

French Open champion Barty saved two break points serving for the match, then thumped down four first serves in succession, sealing the win in style with an ace.

The 23-year-old became the first Australian woman to reach the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

She will play 14th seeded American Sofia Kenin, who earlier ended Tunisian Ons Jabeur’s fairytale run, for a place in the final.

“Obviously she’s having an incredible run, she’s really developed her game over the last 12-18 months,” Barty said of the Moscow-born Kenin.

“It’s about me trying to get my running shoes on again. I’m going to have nothing but a massive smile on my face when I walk out here on this beautiful court.”

Australia have not had a home winner at Melbourne Park since Chris O’Neil’s triumph in the women’s tournament in 1978 but the sports-mad nation may feel Barty is poised to break the drought.

Earlier, Sofia Kenin kept her game neat and tidy to see off big-hitting Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.

The 21-year-old American arrived in Melbourne after a breakthrough 2019 season when she won all three of her WTA singles titles and came in to Tuesday’s clash at Rod Laver Arena with a 3-1 record against Jabeur.

Perhaps aware she did not have the power to match her opponent, Kenin instead focused on keeping her error count to a minimum.

Jabeur, the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final, produced 20 more winners than her opponent but Kenin made up for that by maintaining the same gap in unforced errors.

Federer to face Djokovic in semis

Roger Federer will face Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final at the 2020 Australian Open. 

Federer beat Tennys Sandgren in a five-set match in which he came back from two sets to one down and fought off seven match points. Djokovic beat Milos Raonic later in the day in four sets. Federer won the first set but later conceded the second and third. Sandgren, who was looking to get to his first Grand Slam semi-final in seven attempts, reached match point seven times in the third set. Each time, however, the Swiss great managed to get back. In the end, Federer won the fourth set tie-breaker and took the fifth set. The scoreline in the end read 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3.

Djokovic had a more straightforward road to the last four. Raonic was no match for Djokovic in the first two sets. Raonic managed to take the third set into a tie-breaker in which he managed to score only one point. Djokovic won the match 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

 

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