Ashleigh Barty has beaten Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena, securing her place in the final of the Australian Open.
The world No. 1 made the perfect start to the match, breaking her opponent’s serve at the first time of asking. Having missed a decisive shot to take the game to deuce, squandering two advantages before ceding break point, Keys attempted to catch Barty out with a drop shot only for the Australian to sprint forwards and whip the ball back across the court with a vengeance.
Having won her first two service games to love, Barty then secured a double break to make it 4-1. Despite a momentary slowdown in the next game which saw Keys earn an opportunity to break back, Barty responded with a firestorm of aces before seeing out the first set with another break sealed with a fierce winner down the line.
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Keys refused to go down without a fight in the second set, dropping two points in her first service game only to win a fantastic rally with a roar of defiance. She went on to hold, then hold again, even earning a break point at 2-2 only for Barty to come to the net and lash a winner across the surface.
'Brilliant' - Barty breaks immediately in semi-final with Keys
The decisive break came soon afterwards, Keys gifting Barty two break points with a couple of unforced errors. Barty failed to capitalise on either but, at deuce, she played two unstoppable shots to put one foot in the final.
Barty proceeded to hold to love, but her opponent clung on and forced her to serve for the match. The Australian was irresistible in front of a raucous home crowd, however, and will now face Danielle Collins in the final.
Speaking after the match, Barty told Eurosport: "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."
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