Adelaide, Jan 7 (MNN) World number 1 Ashleigh Barty put on a master class on home soil as she slammed a career-best 17 aces to knock out 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin of the US 6-3, 6-4 and sail into semi-finals of Adelaide International 1 here on Friday.
Australian ace Barty came into the match leading her head-to-head with Kenin by 4-2. However, Kenin had notched a hugely important victory over the number 1 in their most recent meeting, when she upset homeland hope Barty in the 2020 Australian Open semi-finals en route to her first Grand Slam title.
But Barty, who won the inaugural Adelaide title in 2020, was nearly impenetrable on serve this time around and never faced a break point as she moved to victory over a gritty Kenin in just 68 minutes.
Barty, enjoying her 74th consecutive week at the top of the WTA singles rankings (and her 109th week at number 1 overall), was nearly flawless behind her stellar first serve during the tilt, with her 17 aces being the cherry on top.
Rybakina, Doi set semi-final showdown
In the bottom half of the draw, number 7 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan will face Misaki Doi of Japan for a spot in the Adelaide final, after they both won three-set quarter-final battles.
Currently ranked at a career-high number 14, Rybakina pulled off a comeback victory over Shelby Rogers of the US, taking exactly two hours to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Rybakina hit nine aces and broke the Rogers serve three times, while only ceding serve once.
Doi’s victory was even more dramatic. The 30-year-old, who peaked at number 30 in the rankings in 2016, saved two match points before beating Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) in 2 hours and 48 minutes.
Juvan held her two match points on Doi’s serve at 5-6 in the third set, but the Japanese player got out of that jam to queue up the decisive tiebreak.
In the breaker, Doi won four points in a row to garner triple match point at 6-3, and though Juvan erased the first two on Doi’s serve, left-handed Doi cranked a forehand winner on her third chance to seal victory.