Ash Barty has capped off a great day for the Aussies at the Australian Open, making it through to her first final at Melbourne Park.
Following two pairs of Aussies reaching the final in the men’s doubles, and Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler reaching the mixed doubles final at 2:30am on Thursday morning, the pressure was on Barty to continue the golden day.
Thursday night’s clash was Barty’s first meeting meeting against Madison Keys since the 2019 Roland Garros quarter-final, which the Aussie won in straight sets on the way to her first grand slam title.
More of the same from dominant Ash
The pressure was on Keys from the moment she stepped on court, as Barty pushed the American to deuce on three occasions in the first game. Barty broke Keys’ serve and then took a 2-0 lead.
Looking nervous, the normally big-hitting Keys continually hit unforced errors, as Barty was in her zone.
A faultless-looking Barty again broke Keys’ serve and raced to a 4-1 lead.
The world No. 1 didn’t drop a single point on serve until the sixth game of the set, such was the dominance.
Barty, a former professional cricketer, was playing in front of former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh.
The 25-year-old Aussie cruised to a one set to love lead in just 26 minutes.
Can anyone stop Barty?
This was the fourth meeting between the pair, with Keys having won once in the head-to-head matchup.
The world No. 51 was able to hold her first service game of the second set, but remained unmatched against the serve of Barty.
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Faced with a break point as the score was locked at 2-2, Barty ended that threat immediately with an emphatic smash.
The top seed piled on the misery for the 26-year-old American, breaking serve once again to have one foot into the final.
The 25-year-old Aussie secured the most dominant win in a semi-final at Melbourne Park since Serena William’s 2017 demolition of Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. It took Barty just 62 minutes to win, 6-1 6-3.
After bowing out, Keys will reenter the top 30 in the WTA rankings after a successful Australian summer.
‘Now we get a chance to play for a title’
Speaking after the win, Barty was thrilled to become the first Australian since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 to reach the women’s singles final.
“It’s unreal. Honestly, it’s just incredible,” she told Jim Courier on court.
“I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here… and now we get a chance to play for a title. It’s unreal.”
Barty was also happy to play in the unusually humid Melbourne weather.
“It was nice and humid, this is Brissy weather,” she said with a grin on her face.
The loveable Aussie spoke of her admiration for Keys, praising her human side first.
“It’s just so nice to see her back where she belongs. She is an amazing human being,” said Barty.
“The thing I love most about Maddy is she’s a great person no matter what happens on the court.”
Inspired by her dear friend Dylan Alcott, Ash spoke about how the now-retired star has inspired the world.
“Dylan has inspired a whole nation, he’s inspired the whole globe.”
“We were watching his match today… when he was saying his acceptance speech we were both (Barty and her physio) crying.”
Barty will face the winner of Iga Swiatek and Danielle Collins in the Australian Open Final on Saturday.
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