Australia’s Ashleigh Barty continued her stellar run this week as she defeated fifth seed Inga Swietec in the semi-finals of the Adelaide International opening season on Saturday. Barty, world number one, scored a 6-2, 6-4 win over her Polish rival and showed why she will go into this month’s Australian Open as a strong favorite. She will face Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in the final after defeating seventh-seeded Japanese player Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-3 in the first match on center court. Barty has had a tough draw this week, but he’s got the better of him in every match.
After withdrawing from all tennis after September’s US Open because of the pandemic, Barty has faced three players in the top 25 this week.
She came back from a set and break down in the second round with rising American teen star Coco Gauff, then demolishing former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the quarterfinals.
“It was a tough tournament,” Barty said.
“There were definitely no easy matches, but I love testing myself against the best in the world and tonight was no different.
“I felt like I was getting progressively better with each match and hopefully I have a little bit left in the tank for tomorrow.”
Barty broke Sweetek twice in the first set and once in the second, taking advantage of his opponent’s 31 unforced errors.
She once again served beautifully – Sweetek only had two break point opportunities in the match, once in each set.
But Barty also troubled Swietek with his range of shots, with the world number nine notably struggling with Barty’s severed backhand.
In the first semi-final, Rybakina started slowly but had a lot of firepower for Doi, winning 6–4, 6–3 in 83 minutes.
She hit nine aces in the straight sets victory and defeated 22 winners to seal her place in the final.
The 22-year-old, who is 1.84 m (6 ft) tall, finished 14th in the world at the tournament.
She will move to 12th place after reaching the finals and will end the week as world number 11 if she beats Barty.
Against Doi, Rybakina looked sluggish early on and missed his first service game.
But in a match at some of the longer rallies, she broke straight back and then broke Doi again 5-4 to take the first set in 40 minutes.
She found her range and never bothered during the serve, while Doi came under increasing pressure from her opponent’s powerful hitting.
Rybakina broke 3-3 in the second, then claimed a comfortable 5-3 victory.
In the men’s first semi-final, second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov defeated big-serve Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Khachanov played more consistently than his Croatian opponent, whose forehand began to misfire in the first set tiebreak and during the second set.
Khachanov, who reached the sixth final of his career with a win, will now face top-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils or Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokinakis in the decider.
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