Ash Barty says it is “unreal” to be in her first Australian Open final after breezing past Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
Barty has spent just over six hours on court en route to her first Grand Slam final on home soil and will face either Iga Swiatek or Danielle Collins in the final.
Although Barty admitted after the match she "probably won't watch" the other semi, she is delighted to have the chance to win the title.
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“It’s unreal," she said on-court after the victory.
"It’s just incredible I love this tournament and playing in Australia. As an Aussie we are incredibly spoilt that we are a Grand Slam nation and we get to play at home.
“I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it. I’ve done well before and now I have the chance to play for a title. It’s unreal."
Barty says the hot and humid conditions in Melbourne meant she had to adapt in order to get a positive outcome against Keys, who had only dropped one set before their semi-final meeting.
“The conditions were really different tonight. It’s nice and humid," she said. "This is Brisbane weather. It was humid, the ball was slower and heavier off the strings.

'I felt great tonight' - Barty delighted at reaching Australian Open final

“I tried to run and adapt, get as many balls as I could and keep her under the pump on her serve because she’s got the ability to really take it away from you really quickly without you realising what’s happening.
“It’s important to stay point by point and try to do the right things each and every time."
Barty told Eurosport afterwards that she had to put faith in her forehand in the testing conditions.
"I felt great tonight," she told Eurosport's Barbara Schett.
"The conditions were different to anything we've played in. The humidity made the slice skid more, the balls bigger and a bit heavier.
"I had to trust my forehand because if you back off you lose control and you start spraying them."

'She has not been tested at all' - Wilander and Henman on 'dominant' Barty


With Barty getting to the final in relatively comfortable fashion, Eurosport's Mats Wilander says Barty's slice is what makes her so difficult to play against.
"She is really dominating," he told the Cube.
"The confidence boost of having opponents who have no idea how to deal with that slice must be so comforting.
"Obviously she's got the big serve and the big forehand, but that's the biggest difference from now compared to when she lost to Sofia Kenin [in the 2020 semi-final]."
Tim Henman agreed, saying: "I think because it's so defensive sometimes it's easy to think a slice is a defensive shot but she's making it very offensive. Some of the other players don't get to see that so often or practice against it.
"That's why I think it's having such a big impact. Then she's backing it up with huge forehands as well. The combination is just working brilliantly."

'She is so good at it' - Wilander and Henman analyse secret to Barty serve

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