World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty outclassed Sofia Kenin (12th) to reach the semi-finals of the Adelaide tournament, while Simona Halep (20th) struggled to reach this stage in Melbourne on Friday in the preparatory tournaments for the Australian Open.
Japanese Naomi Osaka (13th) faced German Andrea Petkovic (75th) at the end of the program for a place in the last four in Melbourne.
In front of her home crowd, Barty hit 17 aces to ward off 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes the American who had made a name for herself by winning the Australian Major in 2020.
Very solid on her faceoff, the Australian won 31 of the 32 points played on her first ball and 9 of 16 played on her second, without leaving any break point for Kenin.
The latter also did not give much chance to worry Barty by committing 26 unforced errors.
In search of a first title in his National Major, after a semi-final in 2020, Barty who had not played since his elimination in the 3rd round of the US Open in September, has chained two great performances in Adelaide with also a victory against rising American star Coco Gauff (22nd).
She will still have to provide a good performance on Saturday to try to reach the final since she will be opposed to the Polish Iga Swiatek (9th), winner of Roland-Garros in 2020.
The latter beat the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (27th) 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
– “What I’m looking for” –
“That’s what I’m looking for,” Barty assured. “It’s good to be put in danger from the start because you know you have to be at your best.”
In view of her first two games, the world No. 1 believes she has “still work to do”, but she is satisfied with this “solid start” of the tournament and of the year.
The other semi-final will oppose Kazakhe Elena Rybakina (14th), who beat the American Shelby Rogers (40th) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, against the Japanese Misaki Doi (105th) who dismissed the Slovenian Kaja Juvan (100th) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5).
In Melbourne, Halep (20th) made his way into the last four by defeating the Swiss Viktorija Golubic (43rd) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
“I must admit that it was very difficult,” admitted the Romanian whose 2021 season was disrupted by injuries: her calf forced her to give up Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics, then a knee l ‘forced her to end her season prematurely before Linz’s final in November.
“I didn’t think I could win this game, but I fought to the end and I’m very proud of it,” she added.
For a place in the final, Halep will face the Chinese Zheng Qin-wen (126th) who beat the Croatian Ana Konjuh (67th) 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (8/6).
The other half will oppose the Russian Veronika Kudermetova (31st) who eliminated her compatriot Anastsia Potapova (69th) 6-2, 4-6, 6-0, in Osaka or Petkovic.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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