WILL BARTY LIVE UP TO FAVOURITE STATUS? Good morning and welcome to our coverage of Ashleigh Barty's semi-final meeting with Madison Keys on Rod Laver Arena. The world No 1 is the firm favourite to progress to the final, but Keys cannot be discounted having overcome Sofia Kenin, Jaqueline Cristian, Wang Qiang, Paula Badosa and Barbora Krejcikova to get to this point.
A. Barty vs M. Keys | Australian Open
Women's Singles | Semifinal | 27.01.2022 | Rod Laver Arena
A. Barty (1)
What a performance that was from Barty. If you're looking for an in-depth report on the match, we've got you covered.
Barty eases into final with dominant win over Keys
BARTY SAYS WIN FEELS 'UNREAL'
Asked what it means to reach the final in front of a raucuous home crowd, Barty says: "Yeah, it's unreal. Honestly, it's just incredible. I love this tournament, I love coming out here and playing in Australia. As an Aussie, we're exceptionally spoiled that we're a Grand Slam nation, we get to play at home and we get to play in our back yard.
"I'm just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it, I've done well before and now, to have a chance to play for a title, it's unreal."
GAME, SET, MATCH
Barty is just irresistible, winning her final service game in style. Keys showed heart but, ultimately, her opponent was on another level.
BARTY 6-1 5-3* KEYS
Fair play to Keys, she's not going quietly. She forces Barty to serve for the match.
BARTY 6-1 *5-2 KEYS
It's another love hold for Barty. She's a game away from the Australian Open final.
BARTY 6-1 4-2* KEYS
That could be the decisive game. Keys gifts Barty two break points with a couple of unforced errors, but her opponent fails to capitalise on either. At deuce, though, Barty wins two points on the bounce to secure her fourth break of the match.
BARTY 6-1 *3-2 KEYS
Keys seems to have found her rhythm, earning another break point only for Barty to come to the net and smash a winner across the court. Barty holds, but the world No 51 isn't going to give up without a fight.
BARTY 6-1 2-2* KEYS
If Barty's defence is like iron, her attack is like steel. She makes Keys work for every point, playing with relentless determination, but, at deuce, her opponent manages to produce two excellent winners.
BARTY 6-1 *2-1 KEYS
Barty holds to love again. Much as Keys resists her on serve, there's no way back into this match without finding a way through Barty's ironclad defence.
BARTY 6-1 1-1* KEYS
Having dropped the first two points of the game, Keys wins a fantastic rally with a roar of defiance. That serves as a rallying point for the American, who manages to hold.
BARTY 6-1 *1-0 KEYS
Barty drops a single point on the way to winning her first service game of the second set. This match is only heading in one direction at the moment.
BARTY 6-1* KEYS
It's another loose service game from Keys, who gifts Barty two set points. The Australian closes it out with a winner down the line which leaves her opponent seemingly frozen in time.
BARTY *5-1 KEYS
Barty drops her first points on serve after sending several shots beyond the baseline. She gives Keys an opportunity to break at deuce, but saves it with a huge ace. A superb rally ends with Keys slicing a shot into the net. A miss from Barty prolongs the game, but two aces in a row get her over the line.
BARTY 4-1* KEYS
Barty continues to make life very difficult for her opponent, pushing and pulling Keys around the court with a series of killer shots. She sets up another break point and takes it. The first set is surely hers.
BARTY *3-1 KEYS
Barty wins another service game to love, smashing a shot down the line to finish it. It'll be a huge ask for Keys to break back at this rate.
BARTY 2-1* KEYS
That's more like it from Keys. She takes a deep breath and regains her focus, holding serve comfortably.
BARTY *2-0 KEYS
Barty wins her first service game to love. The world No 1 has made the perfect start.
BARTY 1-0* KEYS
Keys wins the first two points of the match, then drops the next two. Barty lets her off the hook by driving a return into the net, but Keys misses a winner to take it to deuce. The American squanders advantage twice before Barty sets up break point, then sprints onto an attempted drop shot and whips it across the court for an immediate break.
'Brilliant' - Barty breaks immediately in semi-final with Keys
PLAYERS OUT ON THE COURT
... and, with the warm-ups done and dusted, we're about to get underway here.
LONG ROAD BACK TO THE TOP FOR KEYS
After a difficult 2021 disrupted by Covid and what she described as "a very high anxiety level all of the time", Keys seems to have rediscovered her joy at Melbourne Park this time around. "Last year I had a lot of pressure that I put on myself, focusing on my ranking, winning and losing, and just getting really wrapped up in that," she tells Eurosport.
"I wasn't giving myself the opportunity to play good tennis, just because I was putting too much on myself, making it too big and almost thinking it mattered too much, as if it was life or death. Now I'm just taking it day by day and trying to enjoy it. I think if I'm able to have that mentality every single day and really focus on taking care of my side of the net, enjoying what I'm doing, then who knows how much longer I could be doing this."
Highlights: Keys into semi-finals as Krejcikova suffers from heatstroke