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Barty into WTA Sydney International final

Ashleigh Barty has beaten world No.9 Kiki Bertens to power into her second-straight Sydney International final where she will face Petra Kvitova.

Barty into WTA Sydney International final

Ashleigh Barty has beaten world No.9 Kiki Bertens to power into her second-straight Sydney International final where she will face Petra Kvitova.

ASHLEIGH BARTY of Australia plays a backhand against Camila Giorgi of Italy of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Australia.
ASHLEIGH BARTY of Australia plays a backhand against Camila Giorgi of Italy of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Australia. Picture:Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Forget the Australian Open, Ashleigh Barty has eyes for only one prize after continuing her giant-killing run to surge into her second-straight Sydney International final.

Barty rallied from a set down and withstood 15 aces on Friday from big-hitting world No.9 Kiki Bertens to beat the Dutchwoman 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 in a quality two-hour, 18-minute semi-final, setting up a date with Petra Kvitova in the decider.


After taking out 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, Barty has since toppled world No.1 Simona Halep, the 12th-ranked Elise Mertens and Bertens to send an ominous warning to her Open rivals.

But refusing to shift her focus, the new golden girl of tennis craves joining her idol Evonne Goolagong and a host of other greats including Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the Sydney honour roll before worrying about the season's first grand slam starting on Monday in Melbourne.

"You guys have been talking about the Australian Open. I've been trying to talk about here," Barty said.

The 22-year-old said it would be a dream to become the first Australian winner in Sydney since Alicia Molik 14 years ago.

Molik, who was courtside for Friday's win at Ken Rosewall Arena, went on to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals a week later.

"It would be amazing," Barty said.

"Mol - my Fed Cup captain, so I would love to try to be the next Australian.

"We are so lucky in Australia to have such a rich history across both the male and female side."

Only Czech fifth seed Kvitova now stands in her way, after the world No.8 powered through Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2 on Friday night.

After heavy rain delayed the start, Kvitova's match only began 20 minutes before midnight and entered the first hour of Saturday morning.

"It truly has been a phenomenal week of tennis," Barty said.

"I feel like I've played great the whole week. I've had tough opponents every single round and I'm really excited to have another shot at the title."

The world No.15 has shown remarkable mental resolve to back up her career-best win over Halep two days ago.

"Both Elise and Kiki were amazing opponents so that I knew I had to be switched on and play my best tennis to win.

"That's the best part of this tournament. It's so strong; every single round could be a final.

"So I have to be ready now and then I get to come out and enjoy tomorrow."

AAP


AAP




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