Barty and Gavrilova set for all Aussie semi
Ashleigh Barty has set up an all-Australian final against Daria Gavrilova after a masterclass performance in Sydney.
Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova ensured that an Australian will feature in the final of the Sydney International thanks to Barty’s 6-3 6-2 victory over Czech Barbora Strycova on Thursday.
The win sets up a semifinal showdown with compatriot Daria Gavrilova, who received a walkover to the final four following the withdrawal of world No.3 Garbine Muguruza.
It will be the first time since 2005 that an Australian woman will contest the Sydney final. That year the home crowd were treated to an all-Australian affair for the title, with hometown hero Alicia Molik defeating Samantha Stosur for the title.
The world No.19 is extremely excited about a home grown talent featuring in the final, stating that it is amazing for tennis in the country.
“I think it’s amazing for Sydney and for Australian tennis – we’re gonna have an Aussie in the final, which is awesome,” she said post match.
“Dash and I know each other very well so hopefully we can play some good tennis.
“It was a hell of a match (last time we played in Strasbourg). We have another opportunity now tomorrow.”
Barty was on the attack from the outset, placing extreme pressure on the Strycova serve before finally clinching the break in the fifth game of the set.
She consolidated quickly and held again to gain the lead in just over half an hour.
The second stanza began with an immediate Barty break, coming from 40-15 down on the Strycova serve to deal a huge blow to the Czech’s confidence.
The 21-year-old showed few signs of the rust that she spoke about in her previous matches, constantly frustrating Strycova with deep ground strokes and sublime angles.
“I think for me it’s about having a complete game. Making sure there aren’t too many holes where girls can exploit,” Barty said.
“I feel great out on the court so hopefully we can have a good one tomorrow.
“It was about coming out here and just playing with freedom. We’ve done the work so hopefully the tennis is going to come together.
“Everything from here is a bonus.”
The Queenslander was rock solid on serve, winning 77% of her first-serve points and 67% on second serve, often using the one-two punch to great effect.
As the pressure mounted, errors began to creep into the Strycova game and the 31-year-old’s mood soon soured as Barty raced to a 5-0 lead.
The world No.21 did mount a small fightback, breaking Barty’s first attempt to serve for the match, but it was to no avail, with the world No.18 converting the second time around.
Barty and Gavrilova have met twice before, claiming one win apiece. Gavrilova won their most recent meeting in last year’s Strasbourg quarterfinals 6-4 6-7(3) 7-6(5).